Rich, creamy avocados are a treasure, but there's more than one way to cut them. Here's everything you need to know.
The Avocado-Toast Slice
Fanned-out slices of perfectly green avocado wedges are a sight to behold, not to mention the golden ticket to a gorgeous Instagram. The trick to getting it right, surprisingly, is in the second cut. Go ahead and make that first incision from top to bottom; but then, rather than cutting back up the other side, rotate the fruit (yes, it's technically a fruit) a quarter-turn and make another top-to-bottom cut. Continue around the avocado until you've segmented it into quarters; if the avo is ripe, three of the quarters should fall away, leaving one piece with the pit attached. You'll be able to remove the pit with your hand, instead of attempting the feat with a knife, which, unless you're a chef, usually ends badly. Starting from the top, gently pull off the skin from each piece. Then slice to your liking (such as uber-thin, for the trendy avocado carpaccio we've been seeing everywhere lately).
The Chopped-Salad Dice
While a thin slice of avocado almost melts on your tongue, diced pieces can have a texture similar to soft cheese, a welcome contrast to the crunchy romaine in salads such as this stunner. Ashley Blom, whose forthcoming book How to Eat a Lobster: And Other Edible Enigmas Explained covers avocados, says the best way to get neatly shaped avocado chunks is to first slice the fruit in half vertically, then go up the other side. Twist the two pieces apart, remove the pit (use a spoon to gently lever it out) and use a paring knife to score the flesh in a crosshatch pattern, cutting all the way down to but not through the skin. Then, turn the skin inside out and the chunks will fall out.
The Guacamole Mash
Mangoes and avocados have more in common than you might think -- in addition to being associated with the cuisines of warm, sunny climates, they're both ideally suited for peeling with a simple drinking glass. The trick of sliding a mango "cheek" down the side of a tall glass to separate the skin from the flesh, and letting the fruit drop into the vessel absolutely works for avocados, too, says Anna Helm Baxter, author of the new book, Salad in a Jar: Green & Gourmet Salads to Take and Shake on the Go. Just take a ripe avocado, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the pit using the spoon technique mentioned earlier and slide each half down the glass, allowing the flesh to fall into the glass. The avo might lose its shape as it lands, so this method is best for when you want to mash the flesh, such as for guacamole or salad dressing.
6 Kitchen Tools Everyone Should Have In Their Kitchen By 30
Like many pros, <a href="http://www.bravotv.com/people/jeremy-ford" target="_blank">Jeremy Ford</a>, winner of <i>Top Chef</i> season 13, enthusiastically recommends a mandoline slicer -- and says inexpensive, handheld plastic models are just fine. These tools, which allow you to slice fruits and vegetables to a uniform thickness (or thinness), will transform the way you handle vegetables. That <a href="http://www.today.com/recipes/shaved-brussels-sprouts-salad-marcona-almonds-pecorino-t79446" target="_blank">shaved Brussels-sprouts dish</a> that seems to be on practically every new restaurant menu lately? Easy: Just run the sprouts over the blade (using the handy finger guard) and drizzle lightly with olive oil and lemon juice, or even Caesar dressing. Think you don't like radishes? Once they're paper-thin and sprinkled with sea salt, you may change your mind. Ford also likes to use a mandoline with beets and other root vegetables.