Friday, June 26, 2015

Avocat, an Avocado in French. Avocados on French Menus.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
   
 
The avocado pear.
 
Avocat – The avocado pear, the alligator pear.
 
Like many other fruits, the avocado is treated and served as a vegetable while it is technically a fruit. However, I believe I am part of that silent majority who cares little about the technical differences between fruits and vegetables. All we need to know it that the avocado tastes good and came to Europe from the New World with the returning conquistadors. 
   

 An avocado salad.
   
Making sure an avocado is correctly served.

Properly ripened, the meat of an avocado will be a pale green, slightly soft, just beginning to be spreadable. If the meat, in the pear, is really hard then it is not ripe.  If the pear is no longer a pale green but a rather a brownish color, then it has been cut open and left to stand for too long.  In either of the two cases noted here send it back and ask for fresh, ripe, avocado.  The skin is always inedible. In many French restaurants the avocado will be served without the skin, a manner preferred by many French diners.
      
How avocados may be served in France:

Avocat au Crabe – A dish of avocado served with crab meat. This is maybe served with just lemon and pepper.   Some restaurants may serve this dish with fresh mayonnaise or with a Sauce Rosé mixed in or on the side. (For more about crab on French menus click here and for more about Fresh Mayonnaise in France click here).

 Avocat Crevette – Half an avocado filled with shrimp. Usually served with a sauce Marie Rosé; the French cocktail sauce is made with fresh mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, Tabasco and sometimes a drop of Cognac. French cocktail sauce is very different to that served in the USA. That very spicy sauce with horseradish disguised the taste of the shrimps and leaves just the texture. You will enjoy the French cocktail sauce. (For more about shrimps on French menus click here.)
 
Avocado Vinaigrette – Avocado; usually a half avocado served in its skin, with a vinaigrette dressing. (For more about vinaigrette dressings in France click here).
 
Cocktail de Crabe et Avocat - A crab meat and avocado cocktail. (For how seafood cocktails ended up on French menus click here).
    
Avocado and crab cocktail.
    
Salade Andalouse: Salade Verte, Tomates, Concombres, Poivrons, Avocats, Cœur de Palmier, Cœur d’artichaut, Anchois, Olives. Avocado will be part of many salads.  This French composition of an Andalusian salad includes a green salad accompanied by tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, avocado, hearts of palm, hearts of artichokes and olives.  (For more about artichoke hearts click here, for more about anchovies click here and for more about French olives click here.)
     
Avocado, spinach and shrimp salad.

Tartare d'Avocat et Homard a la Mangue - A Tartar of avocado and lobster meat flavored with mango. (For more about Tartar dishes click here, for more about the French two clawed lobster, a cousin of the American lobster click here).
     
Chilled red pepper soup and avocado tartar.
Photograph courtesy of Shaun Farrell.
    

The avocado is no relation to the pear.
    
The avocado pear is not related to the pear; the original strains just looked pear shaped.  Today’s hybrid avocados come in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes and some come without pits. Certain types of avocados may be considered more strongly flavored than others but on the table with a sauce or vinaigrette dressing it will require a real avocado connoisseur to tell the difference. 
   
The avocado, a gift from the New Word.
    
The avocado originated in Central or South America and were cultivated by the Aztecs who called the fruit ahuacatl. Now ahuacatl is a relatively difficult tongue twister for most Europeans, and though they attempted to use the original name it ended up as avocado pear or alligator pair in English.The English name alligator pearls come from the color and rough surfaces on the outside of some avocado species. It's French name avocat also means an attorney in French; would you like to halve your attorney for lunch?
 
 Consider where all those great French, Italian and other Old World dishes would be without the New World and its avocados, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, chilies, pineapples, guavas, chocolate and much more.  The New World fruits and vegetables, including the avocado, are among the most important staples in our diet.


Growing your own avocado needs patience.

Many people, including myself, have taken the Avocado seed, the pit and grown avocado seedlings atop a glass jar, the seedling and roots will appear within two to three weeks. Most of us go no further than growing the seedling. However, these seedlings if replanted and the climate is suitable, will become a fruit-bearing tree in 4 -6 years.
    
The fruits of your labors.

Photograph courtesy of William Rivera

French homeopathic medicine.
Avocado, especially the leaves are part of French homeopathic medicine. They will sell dried leaves for a tisane, a fruit tea. They are on sale in France's many homeopathic pharmacies. When in France you see a pharmacy with a green sign that is a homeopathic pharmacy. The fruit itself is recommended for Vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and B6 and Iron.
  
Do not feed avocado to your pet.
  
It has been clinically proven that avocado and its skin is poisonous for most animals.
The animals include dogs, cats, parakeets, and horses.  Consumption of avocado by animals can cause death
  

Avocado in the languages of France's neighbors:
 
(Catalan – alvocat), (Dutch – avocado), (German – avocado or alligatorbirne), (Italian – avocado), (Spanish - aguacate or palta).
   
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Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2015.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman
at
behind the frenchmenu@gmail.com