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Grilled Avocado with Strawberry-Mango Salsa
From The Big Book of Barbecue Side Dishes, by Rick Browne

There are more than 80 varieties of the avocado fruit, with the Hass variety responsible for 85 percent of production. The Hass avocado was discovered by a California postman named Rudolf Hass. Avocados are rich in unsaturated fats, contain no cholesterol, and are packed with dietary fiber and vitamins such as folic acid, A, B6, C, thiamin, and riboflavin. And for good measure, this salsa adds honey, mango, strawberries, and citrus juices to complete the healthy affair.

Ingredients:

4 medium avocados, just turning soft, not fully ripe
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound strawberries (about 1 cup), hulled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Leaves of lettuce, such as romaine or iceberg, to serve

Instructions:

1. Preheat a well-oiled grill to medium-high, 300F to 400F (150C to 205C).

2. Slice the avocados in half lengthwise, and carefully remove the pit; do not peel them. In a small bowl, mix the honey with the oil. Brush the exposed avocado flesh with this mixture, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool place (do not refrigerate).

3. In a medium bowl, mix the mango and strawberries with the vinegar, orange juice, and lemon juice. Let the mixture rest for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the flavors can blend.

4. Grill the avocados, skin side down, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the skin begins to lightly char and take on grill marks. Brush the flesh side of the avocados again with the honey-oil mixture and place them, flesh side down, on the hot grill for another 2 or 3 minutes.

5. With a spatula, carefully remove the avocados from the grill and place on a bed of lettuce on a serving plate, 2 halves per person. Fill the seed cavity with mango-strawberry salsa, generously dribbling some on top of each half. Serve with a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh and salsa.

Tip: Do not store unripe fruit in the refrigerator. To ripen avocados, place them in a brown paper bag at room temperature for 2 to 5 days, keeping them away from direct sunlight. To hurry up the ripening process, add an apple or a banana to the bag.

Yield: Serves 4

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