This post was originally published here on June 18, 2014. I’ve since updated the photos and text to showcase just how delicious these avocados really are!
With Memorial Day lurking right around the corner, I figured it was a good time to refresh this old recipe from 2014. Because let’s be honest, the previous photographs were pretty cringe-worthy. I certainly wouldn’t have been motivated to make these Baked Avocados with Fresh Salsa based on how they looked before. So how could I have expected you guys to want to make them?
So I gave them a little facelift. And now they look all shiny and pretty. I hope you get the urge to run right out and try them. Because I think they are the perfect recipe to help kick off the unofficial start of Summer this Memorial Day weekend!
When I first read about the idea of baked avocados (it was this post from Food Faith Fitness), I was skeptical. Wouldn’t they get all brown and weird? And who would ever want to eat a warm avocado? The whole concept seemed strange to me. But I was intrigued enough to try it out for myself. And since then, baked avocados have become a staple in my house (along with like every other recipe involving avocados = I’m obsessed).
Baking the avocados causes them to turn extra creamy and soft. And they provide the perfect little vessels for loading up with whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand (in this case, corn, tomatoes, crumbled cheese and cilantro). Any food that you can turn into an edible bowl is a major win in my book. Because boy, do I hate having extra dishes to wash!
I like to use crumbled Queso Fresco in this recipe (which is what I’ve called for in the ingredient list below). But for whatever reason, it’s an ingredient that I sometimes have a hard time finding in my grocery store. I’ve substituted crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese in the past, both with great success. So feel free to use whichever of the three cheeses you have/prefer.
These Baked Avocados with Fresh Salsa work as a party appetizer, side dish or mid-afternoon snack. Basically, they are good any time of day. Oh and don’t forget to have a bag of tortilla chips nearby. I think you’ll want them!
And POOF! Just like that, we have Summer.
One week ago, I was using my fireplace to keep warm at night. And then the next thing I knew, it was a balmy 90 degrees.
I guess the only thing that’s ever been consistent about the weather here in New England, is that it’s wildly inconsistent.
I think this current heat wave is just a flash in the pan, and we’ll be returning to somewhat cooler temperatures this week. But oh my gosh, it’s been SO glorious to revel in all my favorite Summer activities. I’ve been walking the beach and reading by the pool almost every single day. I’ve already managed to eat my weight in ice cream. And I’ve enjoyed several outdoor “patio beers” at sunset.
I finally feel re-charged after our long, cold Winter (and our nearly non-existent Spring). It’s like all is right with the world once again.
Needless to say, all this warm weather has got me dreaming wildly about Summer foods. Which is how I ended up creating this Tropical Summer Caprese Salad. It’s amazing what you can invent when you refuse to turn your oven on for fear of sweating through your clothing.
On a hot day, there is nothing I crave more than a caprese salad. I could easily eat one every single day between the months of June and August. Sometimes, I like to bulk up my caprese salads with additional greens and baked almond-crusted chicken. And sometimes, I like to serve my caprese salad on skewers for easy eating at parties.
But today, we’re going super tropical. I’m mixing fresh mozzarella and basil with kiwi, pineapple, cilantro, hazelnuts (hooray for crunch!) and a little bit of heat from a dash of cayenne pepper. It’s a salad that I can just about guarantee you’ll be making (and eating!) all Summer long.
Inspired by the shape of the fresh ciliegine mozzarella, I decided to use my melon baller for the kiwi and pineapple. This, of course, isn’t necessary. You could cut the fruit into small cubes. But I had fun doing it this way (and I think it looks cute!). And it was nice to dust off my poor melon baller, which is a utensil that only gets used two or three times a year at most.
You don’t need a lot of dressing for this Tropical Summer Caprese Salad, because the fruit will release a lot of juice once it’s been cut. I might have added even a bit more cayenne pepper than the recipe calls for, because I like spice. But feel free to go as light or heavy as you dare with the cayenne. The heat provides a wonderful contrast to the cool, sweet fruit. So whatever you do, don’t skip it entirely.
This salad is best when it’s enjoyed immediately after making it. And it should be eaten cold. So make sure your pineapple and kiwi are chilled to start. Then just toss and enjoy!