Anything to do with avocados is necessarily a last-minute affair, but this is the easiest thing to make. You can just fork away distractedly as you blather to your friends in the kitchen. And since the involtini, below, can be pretty well entirely done (bar the final oven-blitz) in advance, you can accommodate a small amount of kitchen-counter futtskying when everyone’s about. In fact, it’s partly this that makes this menu pretty well the perfect supper for me: enough can be made in advance to eliminate the need for tension or panic, while allowing for some low-level last-minute assembly which lets your friends feel cared for and lets you feel that you’re warmly caring for them.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, game day
Recipe Coursecold appetizer, side dish
Taste and Texturecreamy, herby, rich
- 1 large lemon
- 1 fat clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons sea salt/1 teaspoon table salt
- 3 medium fully ripe avocados
- 3 scallions
- Large bunch basil
- 4 slices sourdough bread, halved and toasted
- 1-2 heads red endive, separated into leaves
- 2 cups sugar-snap peas, topped and tailed
- 1-2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and cut in strips
Zest the lemon and keep the little pile of yellow dust to one side for a moment. Juice the bald lemon into a bowl, mince in the garlic and sprinkle in the salt, trying to break it up with your fingers as it goes in (if it’s the better, coarse salt, that is). Fork everything together to dissolve.
Peel and pit the avocados, and mash the flesh in the bowl with your lemony fork. Finely slice the scallions and chop up most of the basil leaves, reserving some choice small whole leaves for the top. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and then mix everything together with the fork; the consistency should not be a puree, more of a knobbly dip.
Dollop on to a serving dish, sprinkle with the reserved basil and serve immediately, with toasted sourdough (the bruschetta nuda of my fancy), chicory leaves, sugar-snaps and sliced fennel – or indeed any crudites of your choice.
2004 Nigella Lawson
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