Borderstan welcomes new contributor Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.
Summer, summer, summertime… easily the most entertaining season in DC. With outdoor film festivals, cultural celebrations, and rooftop happy hours galore, it feels so easy to surrender into a lush, rich, suntanned existence. While perfecting our beach bodies for the beach-that-is-nowhere-nearby, there is one item that is out in full force this season: SALAD.
In this heyday of Sweetgreen’s seasonal selection from local farms and the caprese creations I’ve spotted all around town, we now have access to salad addendums like quinoa, farro, goji berries, sesame tofu, and local fruits. The salad experience has never quite been so delicious!
I’ll admit it, though: growing up, I hated salad. Cut-up vegetables on a bed of watery iceberg lettuce were boring, and the only thing salad consumption inspired me to do was to eat a gigantic chocolate chip cookie in its aftermath. Even more sacrilegious was my aversion to the lard of fruits, the mighty Haas avocado.
How foolish I was to be repulsed by its buttery goodness, its perfect consistency of ready-to-be-mashed-but-ok-holding-its-own-too, and its delicate yet such satisfying taste. Truly, nothing else can match this gastronomic experience – after all, what other fruit can be so creatively used? I’ll never make the mistake of ignoring the avocado again.
A couple of weeks ago, a miracle happened. After weeks of only seeing these beauties priced at $1.50+ each, my local supermarket was selling them for $1 each! With eyes-bigger-than-my-belly, I arrived home with ten avocados. Yes, ten. TEN. 10. For one person, moi. At least in my ecstasy, I managed to select them in various stages of ripening so eating all of them in one day would not be necessary.
From my mother’s Indian-inspired salad recipes and the contents of my vegetable drawer, an idea emerged. Combining the soft, subtlety of avocado with the crunchy, sweet nature of red bell pepper and hint of spicy cumin resulted in a delicious, flavorful salad.
Bon appetit, and may your summer be filled with sun and fun!
Avocado Summer Salad: Serves 4 to 6 people
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
- ¼ bunch cilantro, chopped
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp black pepper, preferably freshly ground
- Juice from one lemon
- 2 medium Haas avocados, ripe and cut into bite-size pieces
- Combine first six ingredients and mix until cumin and black pepper are thoroughly incorporated.
- Gently add avocado.
- Serve immediately.