Avocados are a hard thing to love. But love them we do, and so we have resigned ourselves to a lifetime cooking on their terms.
They decide when they are ready to be eaten. Oh sure, you can put them in the bowl with the bananas, and this will speed it up. But you won't be able to rely on them meeting any sort of deadline. They will always be the boss.
We like to buy the 4 pack of "ripen at home avocados". They are good value. But what happens is this- there comes a day when I have four avocados which need using up right this minute. They never have the courtesy of staggering their schedules.
This recipe came about on one of those days and was a product of all the things we needed to use up. Lettuce + mini baguette suggested caesar salad. Avocado + lime suggested we throw in something smoky and give it a Mexicali twist.
It worked perfectly, as I knew it would, because there is not a salad in the world which can't be improved with avocado. Mr. Caesar, whoever you are... you missed a trick.
1 small garlic clove
1 Tblsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 - 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 mini baguette, or the end of a full sized one, chopped into small pieces
To make the dressing... Bash the garlic and capers together in a pestle and mortar. Whisk the egg yolk, lime juice and cider vinegar in a bowl (or use a food processor with an emulsifying blade) and add the smoked paprika, then mix in olive oil slowly to incorporate.
To make the croutons... Coat a wok in olive oil and heat until a small piece of bread thrown inside sizzles. Throw the pieces of baguette into the wok and toss constantly to toast them without burning. You may get a collection of crispy crumbs at the bottom- save them for the topping!
To assemble the salad... Chop and drain the lettuce, add to a bowl, add the croutons and dressing and toss to coat it. Serve onto plates before adding the sliced avocado, and if you like, pour the crispy crumbs on top.