The avocado originated in Central and South America where it was cultivated as many as 7,000 years ago. It was grown some 5,000 years ago in Mexico and cultivated by the Mayas, Incas and Aztecs. Archeologists in Peru have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C. The word ‘avocado’ comes from the Aztec word “ahuacatl” and “aguacate” is the only word now used in Mexico.
The earliest known written account in Europe of the avocado was by Martin de Encisco in his book in 1518. The first English use of ‘avocado’ was by Hans Sloane in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants. Since the 15th century, Mexico is the world’s largest producer of avocados.
The avocado was introduced to Santa Barbara, California, from Mexico in 1871. The Hass avocado is the most common and all Hass avocado trees are descended from a single “mother tree” raised by a mail carrier named Rudolph Hass of La Habra Heights, California. The unique taste of its fruit piqued his interest, as it was richer and nuttier than other avocados he had tried. Hass patented the productive tree in 1935.
90% of U.S. avocado production is in southern California by about 6,000 growers from San Luis Obispo through San Diego. California avocados are grown year-round and one tree can produce an average of 60 pounds or 150 pieces of fruit per year. The California Avocado Commission estimates that 84.1 million pounds of avocados are expected to be consumed during Cinco de Mayo festivities in the U.S. this year.
To celebrate the California Avocado and Cinco de Mayo, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger created this Crispy California Avocado Taco, which I watched them make and then happily ate during my visit to Ciudad Restaurant and the Food Bloggers lunch and cooking demonstration.
I have to admit, this is the most unusual way to use an avocado I have ever experienced. The avocado wedge is dipped in a batter, encrusted with quinoa, poppy and sesame seeds, and then deep fried. It is then served with a chipotle corn relish on warmed corn tortillas.
Here is Susan Feniger preparing part of the recipe.
The avocado was deep-fried until it was a crispy golden brown.
This unusual and delicious avocado dish would be perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!
Click to continue for printable recipe.
Crispy California Avocado Tacos
2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup water
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup quinoa
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 ripe, firm, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
Salt, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
8 (4-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
4 romaine lettuce leaves, torn in half
1 cup Corn Relish (see make-ahead recipe below)
8 cilantro springs, for garnish
1. Combine flour, water, cumin, salt and pepper to make a batter.
2. In a separate bowl, combine quinoa, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
3. Place flour for dusting into a third bowl.
4. Season avocado liberally with salt.
5. To coat avocado, dust wedges with flour, shaking off all excess. Dip floured wedges into batter to coat lightly and then roll each wedge in the seed mixture, pressing gently to form a complete crust. Place seeded avocados on a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes before frying.
6. Heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees F in a small pot. In batches, fry the coated avocado wedges in the hot oil until seeds are golden and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer to a rack to drain.
7. To assemble the tacos, place a piece of lettuce in the center of each warm tortilla and top with a crispy avocado wedge, a generous spoonful of Corn Relish and a cilantro sprig. Serve immediately.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh corn kernels
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice
3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 canned chipotle chile, seeded, if desired, and minced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté corn with salt and pepper, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
2. Add remaining ingredients and let sit 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve at room temperature.Print Recipe