Friday, May 31, 2013

FFwD: Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado


Today´s recipe for the French Friday with Dorie group is Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado.




As Dorie so aptly points out, this is not so much a recipe as a list of ingredients and therefore the end result depends entirely upon the quality of the very few ingredients used. All you will need to prepare this delicious appetizer are Hass avocados, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Fleur de sel and the best quality Pistachio Oil you can afford.

Avocados have green, buttery flesh and a large central stone. In most European countries, two main avocado varieties are available, namely Hass and Fuerte. These two varieties are easily distinguishable. The Hass variety (which I always use) has a knobbly purple-black exterior and a creamy-textured, richly flavored interior; the Fuerte variety has a smooth green skin. Avocados are very high in both protein and oil. When purchasing avocados, you should look for the ones that have unblemished skins with no soft spots, which suggest bruising. They are ready to eat when the flesh yields slightly when pressed with the thumb.




Pistachios are slim, oblong nuts, ranging from pale, creamy yellow to dark green. There are the kernels of small olive-like fruits. They grow in clusters, and are cultivated in the Middle East, some Mediterranean countries, and California. Unblemished, large, plump, dark-green nuts are the best quality. Buy them from a reliable shop with a high turnover to ensure that they are not rancid or artificially dyed.




Cold-pressed native Pistachio Oil, not pistachio flavored oil, is certainly a specialty oil. Pistachio Oil is a pressed oil, extracted from the fruit of the pistachio nut. Compared to other nut oils, pistachio oil has a particularly strong flavor, it tastes similar to the nut from which it is extracted and it is used as a table oil to add flavor to foods such as this wonderful Pistachio Avocado. The Pistachio Oil that Dorie uses in her recipe was manufactured by the well-known Huilerie J. Leblanc (hence the name of the recipe) but since we have the most fabulous local oil mill in Bonn, of course,  I bought my Pistachio Oil there…




… it has a wonderful brownish-dark green color and incredibly intensive flavor.




And since it  has such an extraordinary flavor, it was certainly worth the investment, we have already plans for a few other delicious appetizers that will showcase this very special oil.




But for today, I used it for Dorie Greenspan´s  Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado – I cut the ripe and unblemished avocado into thin slices, drizzled it first with a good and healthy squeeze of lemon juice to prevent discoloration, then some of the fabulous Pistachio Oil and finished it with a slight sprinkling of some delicate Fleur de sel. I also added some fresh, unsalted pistachio for flavor. To die for!




To accompany this elegant and exquisite appetizer, I decided to bake some equally elegant and simple Oat Cakes, using a recipe (sans the vanilla extract) that I found back in August of last year on Hester´s lovely blog Alchemy in the Kitchen – they were perfect with this appetizer, not too overpowering, not too salty and they perfectly cut through the richness of the oil as well as the avocado.




This was a very interesting and special recipe that only works with the best quality ingredients that you can find. And if you use wonderful, ripe Hass avocados, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Fleur de sel and a cold-pressed native Pistachio Oil, you will be delighted with this recipe. The Pistachio Oil should preferably be bought from a reliable source, or if you are as fortunate as we are and find a local Oil Mill (Bonner Oelmanufaktur), then, by all means, you should try to get the oil from there, it is worth the investment, no doubt whatsoever.




I am curious to see what other interesting ways the members of the French Fridays with Dorie group decided to present Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado in. Please click here for their own and personal interpretations.


Source:

Pistachio Oil from the “Bonner Oelmanufaktur” (www.bonneroelmanufaktur.de/pistazienoel-kalt-gepresst-nativ/33-pistazienoel-kalt-gepresst-nativ-100ml.html)




36 comments:

  1. That is such a beautiful dish...with a few simple and fresh ingredient, I say that's the best. I've never tried pistachio oil though, but I love the nuts. Guess I'll have to get myself a fine bottle to test it out.

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    1. Amy, thank you for your nice comment - fresh and best quality ingredients are key to this recipe and we adored the way this easy yet elegant appetizer tasted!

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  2. You have made this all look so elegant - I like the oat cakes. Pistachio oil was nowhere to be found here so I went for an Australian substitute - macadamia oil.

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    1. Thanks, the presentation called for some elegance as the taste seemd rather elegant to us.

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  3. How wonderful that you have such a lovely source so close to you. Your oat cakes looks like a perfect "nibble" to pair with the avocado.

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    1. Thanks, Cher, this local oil mill is the best I have ever heard of or been to - they make the most fantastic varieties of any oils. Cold-preesed, native, healthy and utterly delicious and certainly worth spending a bit of extra money on!

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  4. Those oat cakes are beautiful and must have been lovely with the pistachio avocado. I love how well you're able to source local ingredients in Bonn.

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    1. Teresa, glad that you liked the presentation of my thin avocado slices on the white plate with a bit of pistachio oil drizzled on top as well.

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  5. Now I understand the difference in our homemade infusions of oil compared to actually pressed pistachio oil. It must taste very different, but like you said much more intense. How could Dorie pour so much into an avocado half? I sliced and made my like you with a drizzle of oil. Love your pictures and I wish I had an oil shop like yours near by.

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    1. Diane, I am glad that you took the time to read through the post because I was certainly not meaning to suggest that one cannot use a different oil, as I pointed out, we are quite fortunate to have this local oil mill downtown and I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to shop there.

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  6. I agree, this one is all about the ingredients.

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    1. Rose, it is indeed all about the ingredients.

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  7. What a lovely post. Your dish, and your oat cakes look marvelous.

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    1. Candy, thanks for the comment - glad that you enjoyed the post including the oat cakes.

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  8. Such beautiful and elegant pictures! We get the haas avocados here as well. A neighbor grows the fuerte and when it goes we get bags full. Its bliss.

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    1. Trevor, the pictures came out really nice and exactly the way I wanted them to be but I must admit that they were rather labor intensive, thank goodness, this was an easy and simple recipe to prepare.

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  9. Hi Andrea! Great post!!! Your pictures are very inspiring! I guess the advantage of living in a big city is that you have a wide variety of quality ingredients to choose from. While I was in Athens I came across many grocery shops selling artisanal and speciality products but I did not have the time to cook with them. Now I'm back in Zagreb I have the time but lack the ingredients! It is a bit frustrating. The next time I find myself in Athens or Vienna I am going oil hunting! Have an amazing weekend!

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    1. Maria, nice to see that you are posting again! And glad to read that you find my pictures inspiring! Well, we are fortunate to have the artisinal oil mill here but Bonn is by no means "a big city", although it used to be the German capital, Zagreb has three times the number of inhabitants, so, maybe you will get lucky and do find an artisinal oil mill (or other specialty shops) in Zagreb after all.

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  10. Your pictures are always so lovely. I made my own and loved it. But after reading your post am very curious how it would compare to the "real stuff". Oh, and your anecdote about having a specialty oil shop near your house makes me miss Europe so bad :'( ....

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    1. Thank you for commenting, the pistachio flavored oil certainly tastes different from the pistachio oil - the "real" oil tastes like fresh, liquid pistachios, nothing else, no taste of canola, or olives, or sunflwer, such a very profound taste of those delicious pistachio nuts - which does not mean that you cannot use another oil but since we have this oil mill so close by and the oil is just outstandingly delicious, I was happy to go out an buy some for us.

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  11. Such a beautiful presentation. After reading all the comments about this oil, I am quite anxious to try it. I am sure it will used for many lovely dishes. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Thans, Nana, the Pistachio Oil is simply fabulous and it was certainly worth the "investment" - it tastes like fresh pistachios and will be put to many delicious uses in the near future, the first of which will be white asparagus tomorrow.

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  12. Andrea, I am so flattered that you made the oat cakes! I hadn't thought of using avocado with them but I'm a huge fan of buttery Hass so I'll be rustling up a batch to try with this lovely starter. If I can't get my hands on pistachio oil, what would you suggest as an alternative? Hope you had a lovely weekend. I saw some rare sunshine!

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    1. Hester, my pleasure - you know that ever since I saw these Oat Cakes on your blog, I could not get them out of my head and I do not know why it took me sooo long to bake them, I guess there are just too many recipes in this world - but for those buttery Hass avocados and the rich pistachio oil, there were absolutely perfect! But do not hesitate to use an extra virgin fruity olive oil or if you happen to have walnut oil, that would be perfect as well, it is one of my favorites but it is also a bit expensive. And yes, we also had a bit of sunshine today, thank goodness!

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  13. Love your presentation, Andrea! Just beautiful! I really enjoyed this non-recipe, too! I really love the oat cakes…very delicious looking!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy, this was indeed a nice appetizer that was made even nicer when good quality ingredients were used.

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  14. I had to make my own oil, since it´s nowhere to be found here. But I would like to know what the real thing tastes like! Lovely presentation Andrea, and I think a few tablespoons of the oil would be perfect with pierre herme´s olive sables. Have a great week my friend!

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    1. Paula, the Pistachio Oil was worth the investment, we enjoyed it drizzled on fresh asparagus yesterday and now are convinced to have found our new favorite oil!

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  15. I'm late on commenting this weekend too. It was so hot here that I couldn't bear to sit in front of the computer. Your pistachio avocado looks great. How lucky to have an oil mill in your city. I made my own oil. It was tasty. Thanks for your idea about drizzling it over asparagus. I bought some this morning, before I read your comment, so now I know how I will use some of it. Hope you have a great week, Andrea!

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    1. Betsy, we did drizzle it over the asparagus yesterday, with some lemon juice and a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper plus some chopped pisachios - delicious is all I/we can say!

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  16. Lovely post, as usual, Andrea. Your oat cakes intrique me also. And, you're right, of course, about buying and using the best pistachio oil. This week, now that all the cleaning and construction work has been completed on my condo, I am determined to get settled and re-stock my kitchen. I have a long List of oils, vinegars, and spices that I need to buy. I try to buy California olive oils and since I am will start spending the winters now on the central California coast near my kids, I hope to personally visit the olive oil farms (sorta like you - journey to the source) to purchase local products. Susan Lester is a great help at sourcing California products for me. Your opening photograph is fabulous. I can see the veins in the pit. You are one talented woman.

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    1. Mary, re-stocking kitchen supplies can actually be quite a bit of fun, I always think there is no better excuse to shop for new, exiting local products than having to re-plenish those dwindling kitchnen supplies, food and non-food. How nice that you will spend your winters close to your children! And, yes, all is well! And I am grateful that you are feeling better - that is absolutely all that counts!

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  17. I agree with Diane (and the other commenters) that after reading your post the lightbulb went off for me regarding how different actual oil made from the nuts must be compared to oils merely flavored with it. I had fun with the homemade version but after reading your post I am vowing to purchase some actual pistachio oil. And how lovely that you have that special oil mill - I very much enjoyed learning of this and seeing the photo. And speaking of photos - yours are just stunning, as usual. That shot of the oat cakes with the pretty ribbon belongs in a magazine. You are fabulous !!!

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    1. Tricia, thank you so much for your overwhelmingly kind comment - your nice word mean quite a lot to me and you are making my day with your thoughful words! Thanks again!

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