I know I promised more serious cooking, and I do have a half dozen post-worthy recipes lined up, but I was delayed by having to go into work on a day off and then unexpectedly finding a pork shoulder at Whole Foods. I was tempted to do something new with it, but decided to make rillettes the same as last time as I appreciated the flexibility the minimalist seasoning gave me for altering flavors after the fact.
I got home from work today too late to start the lengthy stew I had planned, but I did have time to try the kitchen science experiment I mentioned last time. I kept things pretty simple. I used one of the Tonnage avocados I got at the CSA yesterday. This cultivar is smaller than your usual Florida avocado, but no improvement in flavor or texture. I cut it in half, removed the pit, placed in cut-side-up in a baking dish, sprinkled with salt and chili powder, spritzed with olive oil and baked at 350 degrees. I checked at 15 minute intervals for changes, ending at 45 minutes. There wasn't much change visually, but there were notable changes in both flavor and texture.
Compared to a control avocado, the flavor has lost the bright high notes and is now warmer and more complex--roastier, I suppose. It's no more intense, but because the meat has softened to a silky panna cotta consistency, it coats the mouth. You get more flavor per bite and rich lingering aftertaste. The traditional accompaniments--the spices, lime juice, cilantro--are all high notes so I found the roasted avocado a much more synergistic pairing. The one webpage I found with information on cooking Florida avocados warned that they might turn bitter, but I didn't experience that at all. Overall, I found it to be a substantial improvement at least for Mexican flavors; I don't think it would work in sushi so well. But maybe it's just me. Someone else ought to try it and see what they think.
OK, a real interesting recipe next time.