Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grilled Avocados

Is anyone going to Bouchercon in Indianapolis next month? If so, I hope you’ll consider coming to the “Criminal Consumables” panel at 9:00 AM on Saturday where Sandy Balzo (moderator), Joanna Carl, Ellen Crosby, Nadia Gordon, and I will be talking about Wine, dinner, coffee and murder—the craft and popularity of food and drink in mysteries. I hope to see some of you there!


Grilled Avocados

I love avocados. I love them smashed and cilantro-ed in guacamole, sliced in salads and on sandwiches, and as garnish at restaurants when a chef gets creative. But I had never had them grilled in their jackets before. Well, not until recently that is.

In my neverending quest to find yummy vegetarian snacks for my youngest daughter, I sampled a few items from a great little vegetarian cookbook, called Vegetarian Cooking & Vegetable Classics, by Roz Denny and Christine Ingram. What I love about this book is that the recipes are simple and there are pictures for every dish (that always helps!). Not only that but the authors have seen fit to include almost 150 pages of pictures and explanation of vegetables. There are several I’d never heard of before and it gets tough to find something new at the grocery store when you have no idea what it looks like. This book, which I bought at a local bookstore in the marked-down section, is a gem. Over 500 pages, and paperback, it’s great. I highly recommend it.

But before you rush out and buy it, I need to offer one caveat. This book appears to have been written by British authors and while most U.S. measurements and oven settings are included for us Yanks, there are occasional steps that threw me. Five ounces of flour? Um… okay. Can I use my measuring cup with ounces? But that’s volume. Did they mean weight? For the most part, I just used my best judgment. And so far no one in my family has suffered from my attempts.

On page 180 of this cookbook, they provide a recipe for Warm Avocados with Tangy Topping. I made these and served them and they were a hit. Unfortunately, I made 4 whole avocados—which translates to 8 servings—for three of us. A bit too much and although they’re not bad when reheated, I think these are best the first day.

My daughter and I loved the whole concept of grilling avocados, so we played around with ingredients and we came up with two new varieties. She and I both preferred the mushroom to the salsa version but it was very close.

Mushroom Version

1 whole avocado
About 4 or 5 mushrooms sliced
¼ small onion, chopped
1 T butter
2 slices of Mozzarella cheese

Heat butter in a small pan, then sauté onions and mushrooms until mushrooms are nicely cooked. Assemble according to directions below.

Salsa Version

1 whole avocado
1 small tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic chopped/crushed
¼ small onion, chopped
1 t chopped cilantro
1 T Italian salad dressing
2 slices of Pepperjack cheese

Combine tomato, garlic, onion, cilantro, and Italian dressing. Assemble according to directions below.

Assembly for both versions

Preheat your grill. I used a gas grill with the front and back burners on “high,” and the middle burners “off.”

For either version, slice the avocado in half length-wise. Remove pit, but do not remove the fruit from the skin. Score the fruit so that juices from the mixture can seep in during cooking. Divide your mixture in two and use half to fill each of your two “open” avocado halves. Cover each filled half with one cheese slice, ripped into pieces to fully overlap and cover.

Place filled avocados on a grill-proof plate or aluminum pan. Now that they no longer take them back, I used my old leftover Bakers’ Square pie tins with a protective base of aluminum foil.

Grill for about ten minutes. Grills vary, so keep any eye on them. Avocados are done when the cheese begins to bubble and brown.

Each avocado half is one serving. Using a knife and fork, they can be eaten right out of the skin. The ones to the left and back are the salsa version. To the right and front are the mushroom verson.

Hope you have fun with these!


My White House Chef Mystery series includes State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders (coming in January). All from Berkley Prime Crime.

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  1. Am still pouting over not being able to be at Bouchercon...but the avocados look great, Julie!

  2. Oh yum! The mushroom ones are my favorite.

    I think it's great that you and your daughter are spending time in the kitchen together! I'm trying to work in some more time to cook with mine...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. Hi Julie - Echoing Elizabeth on the mom-daughter comment. It is so great to read about a mother-daughter foodie bond! My own mom past away ten years ago (and I miss her greatly) but the memories of food and love and the kitchen table really endure.

    Love this fresh idea on grilling avocados. Can't wait to try!

    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    "Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. I'm so intrigued by this recipe. Grilling always adds that special flavor, but I can't help wondering if the oven or even the microwave would do the trick. Sounds fabulous. I'm definitely going to try these!


  5. Thanks, Shel!

    Elizabeth and Cleo - I'm really enjoying this year with my youngest. Next fall she starts college (working on apps right now) and it will be very quiet around here. Total empty nest :::sniff::: so I'm really happy for these mom-daughter projects, too.

    Krista - I never thought about the oven or microwave. I bet they would both work. The oven, of course, would be better for browning the cheese, but I think I'll try both methods next time I make these.


  6. Julie, in case you see this a day later, I adore avocados. I must try! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I have never heard of grilling avocados, but I will definitely give them a try. Thank you for the recipe. I think this is one food experiment that my husband might approve of!