Sunday, January 16, 2011

Seasonal Sunday--Avocado, Grapefuit & Feta Mousse

The avocado. To me it is the perfect food and I'm sure I once read somewhere that you could survive on avocados and nothing else if it came down to it. I know that all my babies ate half of one a day when they were little--jade flesh scooped right out with a baby spoon.

It so happens that avocados are in season in the winter and I'm able to find my favorite variety, Hass, here at my local produce market. I know they come from Israel but I can excuse the travel miles for the creamy deliciousness of un avocat. 
I make guacamole all the time because it reminds me of Texas and there's nothing better to scoop up on a corn tortilla chip; all the garlicky, cilantro goodness of home right here in France. I'll give you my approximation of a recipe for guac sometime if you'd like.

Today I wanted to mix it up a bit and share something new with you. You know how the Frenchies are wild about appetizers served in small glasses, right? Well, so is Mon Mari...which is surprising because he doesn't like sushi on account of the smallness and fiddliness of it. For whatever reason, his inner Frenchie?, he loves the idea of shot glasses of starters so much that he bought me a set for Christmas. We've had avocado mousse at Chez Bon Amis so it was just a hop, skip and a jump to today's recipe. Or recipes. Because that's what it is...three for the price of one. I got started and couldn't stop. The avocado, feta and grapefruit mousse is the same but the toppings are varied.

The original is just a matter of layering a couple of jewelled grapefruit segments with the mousse and topping with chopped chives and coarse sea salt.
The second is topped with rocket (arugula) and a tiny triangle of feta drizzled with the finest olive oil.
Last and probably my favorite topping is chipotle creme fraiche salsa* served with a tortilla chip for scooping.

Avocado, Grapefruit & Feta Mousse

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
2 ripe Hass avocados
1/4 c. or 4 tablespoons Feta cheese chunks
salt and white pepper to your taste

Mix above ingredients together until smooth. I recommend a hand-held mixer or food processor but you could also do it with a potato masher or heavy-handed fork. The feta will not entirely meld into the avocado and that's ok. Don't go overboard with the mixing and turn it into goo...I personally like a bit of texture but in this case, just a bit.
The grapefruit juice is indispensible because it keeps the avocado a stunning bright green. This is the reason you should always add citrus of some kind to any avocado mixture. I usually choose limes but grapefruit is in season and it gives the prettiest zing of flavor in this mousse.
When mixed you have the base for about 6-8 appetizers served in shot glasses.

This is about as fussy as my kitchen skills get and it took a lot of patience for me but carefully put the mousse into the glasses using a small spoon. Or even better, pipe it in with a pastry tip.
Keep cool in the refrigerator and top with your choice when ready to serve.

*Chipotle Creme Fraiche Salsa

1-2 canned chipotle peppers, deseeded and finely chopped or blitzed
1 teaspoon fresh grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon creme fraiche or sour cream, more if you prefer it less spicy

Mix together until combined. This is really down to taste so don't be afraid to adjust according to yours. I personally like it spicy so would go easy on the creme fraiche.
rocket & feta, chipotle cream, grapefruit jewels









8 comments:

  1. The mousse looks totally yummy! What a great recipe to brighten up winter meals and remind you of home :) Will have to get some avocados at the store this week and try it out!

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  2. Look at you go, they are fantastic. Now, for this Australian, please explain what a chipotle chilli is, and where I might find them? And also, how to pronounce it?

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  3. Linds,
    I hope you do try it. And let me know what you think!

    Kirsty,
    A chipotle chili is a smoked jalapeno pepper. You can find them in cans but it's kinda hard. I found them at our little world food market nearby. Try to find them or I'll send you some. They're super spicy but in a smoky way. chi-po-t-lay.

    xo

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  4. Sounds soooooo good! I love avocados and feta was one of my favourite cheeses before I became intollerant to lactose (grrrrrr) ans gluten (double grrrrrr). I never had guacamole with garlic, is this your personal variation?

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  5. You're finding canned chipotles at the market? Is this a chain market? Please, please say it is.
    And of course I love avocado too, mostly in the form of guacamole of course. When I was in Dublin, I made some guacamole on a Saturday afternoon and while my roommate was eating it, he looked at me and said, "What is guacamole anyway? Is it kind of like green cheese?"
    Bless him. Thankfully for him he was a very pretty boy. x

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  6. Blandina,
    Poor you! No cheese?!
    Yes, I always put garlic in my guacamole. Plus, fresh coriander, ground cumin, cherry tomatoes, and a hot pepper for fun.

    Sara,
    There's a world food market nearby and they have some good stuff. I used to have my chipotles sent from TX but not anymore. Do you need me to send you some? They have a chipotle squeezy sauce too that I decorate my eggs with...send me your list.

    Charley,
    Thanks! And mon mari did a nice job on the photos too, huh.

    a x

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  7. Nice Blog Aidan. Good read enjoyed it. You are as obsessed with France as I am...

    G.

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It makes my day to read your comments. They're an answer to my floating words in blogland.