With Cinco de Mayo coming up, Mexican food is, of course, on the mind and menu. It’s delicious anytime but gets to shine with a special spotlight this time of year. And avocados are often part of the fiesta—mashed up as the ever-popular guacamole or sliced and used in tacos or atop sopes. Avocados add a creamy fresh flavor to these dishes and are good for you—they have good fats, 2 grams of fiber and 0 grams of sugar per 1 oz. serving.
Cinco de Mayo has the highest avocado consumption of the year after the “Big Game.” Last year, 43.5 million pounds of avocados were shipped for consumption, according to the Hass Avocado Board. This year, they project that number to be 47.4 million pounds!
Most avocados you see at the store are the variety known as Hass, which is a variety discovered in La Habra Heights, Calif., in the 1920s by Rudolph Hass. Today, 90 percent of the domestic crop is grown in California, and Mexico also supplies a great deal of this popular fruit. Every Hass Avocado in the world can trace its lineage to the original Hass Mother Tree, according to the California Avocado Commission.
Unripe, firm or green avocados can take four to five days to ripen at room temperature (approximately 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit; avoid direct sunlight). Refrigeration can slow the ripening process, so for best results store unripe fruit at room temperature, unless room conditions exceed that range. Ripe avocados that have not been cut open can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days.
Guacamole often contains other ingredients that may affect how well and how long it can be stored. For most guacamole recipes, adding an acidic agent (such as lemon or lime juice) can help prevent oxidization, suggests the Hass Avocado Board. To store guacamole, place it in an airtight container and press clear plastic wrap on the surface of the guacamole before covering to help prevent oxidation. Store in the refrigerator. If refrigerated guacamole or fruit turns brown during storage, discard the top oxidized layer and enjoy the rest.
In the following recipe, courtesy of the Hass Avocado Board, sliced avocados make for a rich and tasty topping to mini sopes (a smaller thicker tortilla) filled with sautéed carne asada, black beans and queso fresco. Plus, their take on a quick and easy guacamole recipe can make a good dip with carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes or fresh fruit in addition to customary tortilla chips.
Mini Sopes with Carne Asada, Avocado and Queso Fresco Recipe
Make 16 Servings
½ lb. flank or skirt steak
1 ½ tsp. salt, divided
½ tsp. ground pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 tbsp. minced jalapeño
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 c. masa harina (corn flour)
1 1/3 c. water
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and warmed
1 c. pico de gallo, homemade or store bought
1 ripe fresh Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup crumbled queso fresco
Cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, for garnish
Sprinkle steak with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; rub with the garlic, jalapeno and lime juice. Refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
In a medium bowl, combine masa and 1 teaspoon salt. Add water and knead until mixture comes together. Divide dough evenly into 16 pieces. Using wet hands, press pieces of dough into a 3 1/2-inch circles.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sopes and cook for 6 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Remove from heat and place in warm oven.
Preheat an outdoor grill or stove top grill pan over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until desired doneness is reached.
Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice steak in strips then dice into 1/2-inch pieces.
Top sopes with steak, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado and queso fresco, dividing evenly. Garnish with cilantro and lime if desired.
Classic Guacamole Snack Recipe
Make 4 Servings
1 ripe, fresh Hass avocado, peeled, pitted
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, mash avocados with lemon juice.
Add in garlic powder and salt, mixing until combined.
Tip: If the avocados were not refrigerated beforehand and you would prefer a colder guacamole, refrigerate the bowl of guacamole for 15 minutes with a piece of clear plastic wrap pressed to the surface. The clear plastic wrap will help keep the guacamole from oxidizing.
Note: Medium avocados are recommended for this recipe. A medium avocado weighs about 5 ounces. If using smaller or larger sized avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.