A blast from the past … if ever there was one.

 

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It has been ages since I made a dish like this.  In fact, I am pretty confident it has been, at least, 30 years.

That means these avocado bowls have been sitting in my cupboard, unused, for 30 years.  I can hardly believe it.  They were a Christmas gift from my sister, Juanita, when avocado entrées were all the rage.  They were used regularly, at the time, but had long since been forgotten.

I can still remember my first avocado.  I was in Jammu in India.  I asked the lady who sold it to me whether it was ripe because I had no idea.  She assured me it was.  There and then, I bit into it like a piece of fruit and thought, “yuk”.  Notwithstanding this inauspicious beginning, avocados soon became a firm favourite.  I embraced the avocado entrée idea but never made a cooked one.  Mine were always served raw.  In fact, I have only ever cooked avocado once before and that was a dinner I made for Maus’ mum and dad at about the same time.

Maus had told me that her mum liked chicken breasts and avocados and I was out to impress her mum.  It was the very first time Maus’ parents came to our house for dinner.  I decided to cook chicken breasts and avocado slices in a cream sauce.  (What was I thinking?).  Anyway, I was very young and an inexperienced cook.  I had no idea that cream will curdle if you boil it and, if this happens, how to remedy it.  So we had chicken with over-cooked avocado in a curdled cream sauce.  I don’t think I achieved my wish of impressing Maus’ mum with my cooking expertise.  Ever since, I have not been a fan of cooked avocado.

Given the above, it is a wonder I even looked twice at this recipe from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.  But look I did, several times and then I caved in.  “It will be a blast”, I thought.  It certainly was.

Our plates were clean when we finished so it could not have been too bad but I don’t think the avocado dishes will be used, again, any time soon.  Maybe it is time for them to go to the Op Shop.  [Or maybe not.  I just did a quick search.  There are very few for sale and those that are are described as ‘vintage’.  Maybe they are collectors’ items 🙂  I still have the full set.]

The recipe is for 3 avocados but I only did one (which was enough for Maus and me), along with some potato and a salad.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large avocados
  • lemon juice
  • 300 mils thick béchamel sauce*
  • 2 heaped tbs** of grated cheddar
  • 1 heaped tbs** of grated parmesan
  • 3 tbs** double cream (I just used ordinary cream)
  • 175g cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
  • salt & pepper
  • breadcrumbs and melted butter

*Here is Jane Grigson’s béchamel sauce recipe.

**These are 15 mil tablespoons.

Method:

  1. Halve the avocados and remove the stones.
  2. Enlarge the cavity, leaving about ½ cm of flesh.
  3. Brush lemon juice over the avocado halves to prevent discolouration.
  4. Cube the removed avocado flesh.  Sprinkle it with lemon juice.
  5. Heat the béchamel sauce – do not boil.
  6. Add the cheeses to about ⅔ of the sauce.  Set the balance of the sauce aside.
  7. Mix the cream with the prawns then add the avocado cubes and season with the salt and pepper.
  8. Add the cheese sauce.  If the mixture is too thick, add some of the reserved béchamel sauce.
  9. Put the avocado halves in a baking dish.
  10. Divide the prawn mixture between the cavities, piling it up.
  11. Scatter some breadcrumbs and pour about a tablespoon of melted butter over each of them.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C.

This month, the Cookbook Guru is showcasing Vegetable Book, by Jane Grigson.

20 thoughts on “A blast from the past … if ever there was one.

  1. No way should you get rid of those bowls! How much room could they possibly take up anyway? I don’t think I’ve ever done anything with cooked avocado but I love it this way – actually mine’s a little different & a lot more cheating because I just put the shrimp in the hole & pour on Caesar salad dressing (yes, from a bottle – I told you I cheat). Do you ever make guacamole? Now that’s another very easy one & would look cute served in the avocado bowls.

  2. Pingback: Sweet coconut tartlets | Passion Fruit Garden

  3. You’re not allowed to get rid of those bowls! I’m sure I remember Mum cooking something very similar – about 30 years ago. Avocados’s were so exotic back then and now look how far they’ve come!

  4. Reblogged this on The Cookbook Guru and commented:
    Glenda has stepped back in time for this post and has shared with us a baked seafood avocado a la Grigson. Make sure you check it (and her gorgeous avocado bowls) out.

    Happy Reading and Happy Cooking,

    Leah

  5. Oh my goodness… what a wonderful (and delicious) concoction! I have an avocado cookbook that I have not really delved into… now you’ve made me curious. Love those dishes! Amazing.

    • Liz, I have an avocado cookbook too. I wonder if it is the same one. I have always been fascinated by avocado cheesecake but have never made it. One day maybe …

  6. I’ve never cooked an avocado, just couldn’t get my head around how it would taste, but I do remember the fad for avocado entrees and dinner parties, very glam! Like you, I vividly remember my first taste. I hated the texture but soon learned to love it…..

  7. I’m in two minds about retro food. Some of it was good, and some of it was… well… a good idea at the time! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten avocado baked… maybe slightly grilled, but with the additional of sauce, cheese, prawns and breadcrumbs it does look appetizing particularly in the gorgeous bowls which if someone donated them to an op shop I’d have my purse out in a heartbeat 🙂

    • Hi Ella, I think the avocado entrée sits in the category of “A good idea at the time’. I note with all the retro food around, it hasn’t made a comeback. Maybe that is telling us something.

  8. Talk about a blast from the past, I tried to impress my inlaws with a Bomb Alaska. It slid off the baking dish as I was taking it out of the oven. We had fruit salad.

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