Friday, February 3, 2012

Heirloom Tomato–Avocado Tartare

This 'raw' recipe pops with the flavors of summer! Beautiful, juicy heirloom tomatoes, fresh avocado, cucumbers and oyster mushrooms create a delightful contrast of flavors. This makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips or crackers, or serve as a side dish at your next barbecue.
Reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbookby Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda (Ten Speed Press 2011).

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1⁄4 pound oyster mushrooms, diced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
  • Tortilla strips, for garnish
  • Sprouts or microgreens, for garnish


In a small bowl, combine the mushrooms, shallot, scallions, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Put the tomatoes in a large bowl. Halve the avocados. Carefully press the blade of a sharp knife into the pit, twist, and pull gently to remove. Cut 1⁄4-inch slices horizontally and vertically into the flesh of the avocados to make medium-sized squares. Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon and add it to the tomatoes, along with the diced cucumbers.
Add the mushroom mixture and the remaining lemon juice to the tomato mixture. Gently mix with a large spoon, making sure not to mash the avocado. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
To serve, present the tartare in a bowl. You can also offer individual servings: pack the tartare into a 2-inch ring mold to shape it, then remove the mold. Garnish with the tortilla strips and sprouts and serve at once.

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