Avocado, Grapefruit, Mango, Yuzu, Cilantro

Avocado with grapefruit tartare

Apparently these are among my favorite ingredients for late-night culinary experiments, probably because there is so much that can be done with them raw. By playing with different cuts, you can achieve suprising and pleasing textures. The flavors are so automatically compatible, it is hard to do anything wrong.

This would work great as an appetizer before either a Latin or Asian meal.

Mixed in with the ruby grapefruit are little cubes of yuzu gelee. On the plate are a few drops of cilantro oil (hard to see), and black salt. The salt contains volcanic charcoal, which will easily run when exposed to water, so I prefer to use it on a dry plate or only at the very last second before serving.

To cut the avocado this way, first halve it and remove the pit. With the skin still on, lay a half cut side down on your board. Working very carefully so as not to de-digitalize yourself, put one hand on top and use a serrated tomato knife to make a cut parallel to the board. Then remove the skin just from that slice. Rub it right away with a bit of grapefruit juice to avoid browning.

For the grapefruit, cut supremes and drink all of the juice to fortify yourself. Cut the supremes once lengthwise, then finely dice.

For proper cilantro oil, blanch and immediately shock a bunch of cilantro to preserve the bright color. Dry thoroughly. Puree with 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil in a high speed blender and strain thoroughly first through a sieve and then cloth. You can remove any water by freezing. The version in the picture above was made with a half-arsed version of this technique which is why the color is weak.

For the yuzu gelee, whisk together 20 grams of yuzu juice (available at a good Asian grocery), 1 teaspoon of sugar, 0.6 grams of LM pectin (I use Pomona brand), and a tiny pinch of the calcium stuff included in the pectin packet. Bring to a boil in the microwave, and immediately pour into a tiny plastic square mold. Refrigerate until gelled. Dice.

A little bit of minced red shallot would be good too.