Pistachio Avocado by Anne LeBlanc

French Friday’s with Dorie

Pistachio Avocado

I was unprepared for the blasphemy that Rick was about to utter in my dining room.

Some things should not be said even among friends. It might be ok to think them.  I am not in favor of a Culinary Thought Police state but Rich was about to cross the line. We were entertaining some friends in our home, a family of six. We poured the wine freely and crammed around the dining room table for what I thought was going to be a pleasant evening of fancy cocktails, good food and an abundance of non-offensive chit-chat – the kind that even one who loves a good argument now and then might crave on a Friday night when the week has been full.

Our conversation stream stayed on course and did not disappoint. We touched on all the incredibly safe topics: we got briefed on the family vacation that had all six of them (Mom, two daughters and their husbands) traveling the Western United States together in a single RV (kill me now), our predictions for an unseasonably warm summer and the best way to take care of orchids.

For good measure we even discussed our shared love of pets — this is probably the safest dinner conversation topic of them all. All was going very well and soon I couldn’t tell which was relaxing me more, my second glass of Pinot Noir or the nature of our dinner talk.

Everything changed when the conversation took a turn towards that one topic that makes me nervous when I am the one in charge of dinner. Food preferences.

Do we really have to do this now? I haven’t even served dinner yet!

When I say “food preferences” I’m being kind. I’m not referring to the “I prefer jalapeno to Serrano chilies” type of discourse. I’m instead referring to those prepared stump speeches often pop up when we gather and then serve kick the door open for everyone present to share which foods they either can’t, or more truthfully won’t eat.

Please note dear reader that I am not speaking here of those who must speak up because they forgot to tell me that they are allergic to peanuts once they realize that I have themed the entire dinner around Indonesia or Thailand. Doing this is far better than not as rushing a dinner guest to the hospital usually ruins the party.

No, I generally forgive food aversions if they are legitimately related to health. Generally. No dear reader, I’m speaking here of the ‘strong preferences’ that people seem overly proud to cling to although for the life of me I don’t understand how one can feel pride to know a food type has bested them.

I suppose it was a testament to our hospitality that Rick felt comfortable enough to launch into his own rather lengthy list of foods he would not be eating that evening. He was proud enough to rattle off his list without a second thought to that night’s menu. A menu he still had not been presented with.

“I don’t eat anything with lamb in it… or shellfish. Lamb is just too ‘lamby’. I don’t care what kind it is. And shrimp, well, shrimp just gross me out. Do you know they eat anything and do you know what that black stripe actually is? Its shit. Shrimp shit. I tell you we aren’t supposed to eat that. Oh, and I can’t eat anything with a bean in it and that includes lentils. I can’t eat lentils. They just gross me out…”

Rick kept going on but I had already tuned him out. I may have even started humming softly to myself for good measure. He knew me well enough to realize how annoying I find this line of conversation so once I had I mentally assured myself that the evening’s menu did not contain lamb, shellfish, or beans I decided tuning him out would be the best plan of action.

It was better I didn’t know it if he would go on to mention a food I was about to serve to him. It would only get awkward.

Very awkward.

After a minute or two of Rick’s holding the table hostage to his lengthy roster of dislikes he shifted his gaze to me and looked at me with an intensity that jarred me from my inner slumber. Then he said it.

“There’s one more thing. I hate avocados.”

Pistachio Avocado

I think I may have audibly gasped.

I’m certain I dropped my fork because I heard it clang loudly. The fork fell out of my hand and onto the plate making a tone so cliche that it must have given my dinner guests the impression I did it on purpose and for comedic effect — but I had not.

The laughter gave me permission to seize the moment.

“Rick, get out of my house! Now!”

I stretched out my arm and pointed at the front door. I did not cracking a smile. Given my real annoyance it was surprisingly easy to “stay in character”.

More laughter.

“How very dare you sit at our table, enjoy our hospitality and then disrespect us by uttering such blasphemy! It is bad enough we have to sit here and listen to what happens to your GI tract when you eat a lentil or have you regale us with your story about the time mayonnaise made you vomit but now you are going to admit without any trace of shame that you HATE avocados? Hate? Don’t you know you are in California? This is avocado country sir! That is like going to France and telling them you don’t like cheese. Or telling a Texan you don’t like beef. Hate? What did avocados ever do to you? There just isn’t anything there there that should engender hate. Is there? What? WHAT IS IT?!”

I paused only long enough to take a breath and take a quick pulse of the mood. Where they still laughing?

Then the real horror of what Rick had said dawned on me.

“Do you mean to tell me… Rick… that you don’t eat guacamole? Oh my GOD! How very sad for you Rick! SAD! You actually choose to live in a world without guacamole. Lentils, I can see how one would survive without lentils or even shrimp. But guacamole? That is like living in a world without Cher!” 

It seemed the “angrier” I got the more the table roared with laughter. God bless Pinot Noir for so effectively vaccinating me from judgement that evening. How often does one get the chance to speak one’s mind and vent childish frustrations only to have them excused away so willingly and effectively?

I was comedy gold and a petulant brat all at the same time and only I knew the bratty truth.

It was a catharsis I hope you will all get to experience someday.

Pistachio Avocado

Still, I wasn’t done. I had I idea. I had planned to serve “Anne LeBlanc’s Pistachio Avocado” from Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” as our first course! I had previewed it earlier in the week and I thought it would be perfect for the group. I knew Rick was a picky eater but I had not yet been presented with his full aversion list.

Seven of us were fortunate enough to dine on the lovely avocado starter you see before you here. Rick, however, got served a salad plate adorned with only one tablespoon of pistachio oil, a slight dusting of lemon zest and a few crumbles of pistachio bits. Bread was on the table.

The table went nuts and even I had to give in to the moment and laugh.

Some people just don’t know what they are missing. But even they had a lovely ‘sauce’ for dipping.

Anne LeBlanc’s Pistachio Avocado

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

Serving Size: 1/2 avocado

Anne LeBlanc’s Pistachio Avocado

I urge you to source the finest quality pistachio oil you can. There is a difference in brands and once you have it in your pantry you will fall in love with it's qualities and substitute it in our usual vinaigrette and marinades. Here it steps up and allows its mellow, nutty flavor to lift the avocado subtlety to new heights.

Dorie's original recipe can be found here

This is what you will need:

  • 1 Ripe Haas Avocado
  • 1 lemon, zested then juiced
  • kosher salt or fleur de sel
  • the best pistachio oil you can find
  • crushed pistachios for garnish

This is how you make it:

  1. Split your avocado an remove the pit. Lightly brush the avocado with some lemon juice and then fill the pit with at least 1 teaspoon of the juice. Fill the rest of the pit cavity with the oil. Sprinkle with lemon zest, some fleur de del or kosher salt and a crumbling of pistachios.
  2. If you are Rick, then the avocado is optional. Because you hate it.

Notes

If you are Rick, then the avocado is optional. Because you "hate it".

http://www.sisboomblog.com/2013/05/pistachio-avocado/

This dish was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”. We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or hundreds of other bloggers I will either include it here (only when adapted) or provide a direct link. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. You should buy the book though. It will change your life as it has mine.

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. Bravo! Love how you served Rick the Pistachio Avocado sans avocado.

  2. Oh for summer and avocados (winter in the antipodes). Actually I thought the pistachio avocado sans avocado sounded pretty good, though not as good as pistachio avocado avec avocado of course!

  3. I think I would have excused myself to check on the lamb chops before bringing in the shrimp cocktail. Comedic brats are always forgivable and most charming. I hope Rick sent flowers the next day with a Harryand David pack of avocados.

    • Rick did not send flowers as he lacks your charm my dear. I have learned that you can get away with quite a bit when you keep your smile bright and a twinkle in your eye. Harry and D does avocados? Hmm….my mind races.

  4. Disturbing…someone can’t stand avocados? Sad…

  5. That is the perfect way to deal with a fussy eater! Comedy gold, indeed.

  6. Giving you a standing ovation from my computer. With a list that long, I’m surprised he allows other people to cook for him at all. He knows shrimp can be cleaned, right? It must have been cathartic to rant without consequence.

  7. Laughing so hard right now! Love this post!!!!

  8. First of all, if someone else is cooking the meal, I know damn well to keep my mouth shut about any food aversions that I might have.
    I think I would have put a box of cereal and a bottle of milk next to his plate. That’s what I do to my kids when they grump about dinner.
    Sigh.

    • It just would never occur to me to start telling someone what I don’t like BEFORE they serve a dinner of which I had no idea. I love the idea of putting a box of Lucky Charms and milk in front of them! lol. Oh yes.

  9. There once was a fellow named Rick
    His friends said he could be quite … thick
    His aversion to shrimp
    Makes me grow limp
    Why must he be such a … stick?

  10. Wow Trevor, you dodged that ball with so much class! A plate of pistachio oil served him well. I understand faux allergies, like I have with fish (from my childhood days when my father literally forced me to eat it. Now I get goose bumps when I taste it), but that´s different from simply not liking them. You do eat them when you´re in another person´s house! I wonder how many more times this family is going to grace your table…

  11. Edward Albee meets Neil Simon… are you sure not interested in playwrighting Trevor? I was on the edge of my seat I couldn’t wait for you to go deeper… you know to really get into “the avocado pit.” (I think we have a title!)

  12. I’m guessing I would have liked this dish more if I’d been at your dinner party!

    I’m with you on the food “issues”. Like if I bring some freshly-baked warm muffins in to the office and people ask “what’s in them?” – like they EVER have anyone bake something home made – who cares what’s in it! I wouldn’t have brought it if I thought it was disgusting!! (I’ve just proven how easy it is to get on a rant…)

    • When I bring stuff into the office I try to write out what it is on an index card to put next to it because everyone always asks “whats in it?” and “did you use real sugar” and stuff. Um YES! I did. Get over it.

  13. Sing it sister!

  14. Oh wow, I guess he is missing out. I do have a couple of food issues too but I would try almost anything at least once before ruling something out. Lovely lovely photos.

  15. Welcome to world of Grumpy Greg! Don’t get me started on vegans. GREG

  16. I guess Rick would not have like my dish either. I love the way you took care of that
    problem…. Have a wonderful weekend.

  17. Wow, shrimp shit-lovely;-)
    You are too kind 😉 and your avocado looks fabulous-great idea for a starter that I will have to try..soon 😉

  18. Oh my. but I can top that with some California blasphemy of my own. Growing up, my mother told us that avocadoes were, get this, poisonous. I am not making this up. To really top it off, we had two huge avocado trees in our back yard; for all of the twenty-plus years we lived in that house on Bowling Green Way, not one of us Crocetti kids ever ate an avocado. Can you stand it?

    What a great sounding and beautifully photographed recipe. And yes, eventually I did begin to eat avocadoes.

    • Perhaps she wanted all the precious avocados to herself and didn’t want you kids filling up on them between meals?

    • Uh uh. My sister & I were just discussing the issue. For what ever reason – either she really hated them or she really believed them to be fruit of the poison tree, she never ate them. Go figure.

  19. Great post. Rick was missing out. I liked this, but didn’t love it.

  20. Trevor you are my hero! I should have done the same thing when I was living with my in laws in Athens and everything I cooked for my blog or for my pleasure had one “strange” ingredient that they could no stand!So they wouldn’t try even a little bit. Avocado was one of them, and coconut, and goat cheese, and cauliflower, and, and. I said nothing. I kept my mouth shut and stopped cooking. Now with this post you have given me the opportunity to vent! 😉 Even if I’ve done in the virtual world and my in laws will never find out about it!!

  21. I live with a “Rick”…and I agree he doesn’t know what he’s missing! I loved this one..I ate it for lunch and enjoyed it immensely!! Your post had me laughing out loud, Trevor…loved it! Beautiful photos!

  22. Trevor, well this post of yours made my late Sunday evening – I read part of it aloud to my husband and annoyed him slightly because he was watching a football game but he enjoyed your post as much as I did – and what a fantatsic photo of your avocado halve filled with the delicious pistachio oil – I love your photography!
    Sorry, I am running a bit late with commenting this week – but better a bit late than never!
    So, have a wonderful Sunday!

    • Thanks dear Andrea! This oil is the star and I really wanted to show it off in the photo. Thank you for your kind words and please tell your husband I am sorry that I interrupted his football game.

  23. I sometimes think there should be a sitcom based on the stories you tell. You live in California, maybe you can figure out how to pitch it to the networks. I do love avocados and was raised to eat anything put in front of me at someone else’s house. However, what you served Rick is a great idea for what to do with some of the leftover oil. It would be a great dipping sauce.

    • Bets, I think the truth is that we all live in sitcoms. My goal here is to show you how to notice it. My circle is colorful (thank god!) but is it moreso than any one else’s?

      Anyway, that was the irony here… the pistachio oil as a dip with a little lemon juice wasn’t bad at all and Rick was quite happy with it. I was happy not to waste an avocado on him.

  24. Just found your blog via DailyBuzz Food… it’s so good!

    I’m like you; I can forgive/respect food allergies, but picky eating? Especially avocado hatred? Unforgivable.

    Also, avocados are my go-to egg (or whatever) substitute when the vegans come to dinner. I swear if an avocado-hating vegan ever came to dinner, I might have to kick them out (or at least judge them and serve them a plate of pistachio oil). At least your friend wasn’t allergic to pistachios!

  25. By the way, I live in California too, and I’m lucky enough to have friends who have a giant avocado tree in their backyard. They are already amazingly generous with their avocados, but if *they* hated avocados altogether, I suppose I might be able to forgive them for it…

  26. Oh, this was too funny. I’ve read it twice. You play that evening and Rick to perfection. Wasn’t it almost worth going through to be able to write this Post? All of us enjoyed it, that’s for sure. But, my question, who would have 2 cans of pistachio paste just hanging out in the cupboard. I have never heard of pistachio paste. Do you buy it for a specific purpose or do you just pick up these items, just because. As far as the uber-non-scientific food blogging study goes, the number of people over 65 who blog is miniscule as are the number of men. Miniscule is good.

  27. Absolutely fabulous post – though I do feel for you and the well deserved agita you must have experienced at hearing the declaration. Kudos on how you handled it with wit and with the plate, though I have to say that dipping bread into the oil with ground pistachios and lemin sounds like a wonderful penalty…..well done !!

  28. What a great story! This absolutely cracked me up. I’ve had that experience too. People shouldn’t talk about things they don’t eat until they see what you’re serving! Sounds like a really fun dinner party 🙂

  29. Too funny! I wish I was there to see it unfold.
    From all the ingredients I thought of as optional in this recipe, I have to admit, I never considered the avocado!

  30. read every word… I like you, charming enough to say what you want and not offend anyone- now that is a skill you cannot teach my friend.

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