MERRY CHRISTMAS! FELIZ NATAL! JOYEUX NOËL!
This year we had a pre-Christmas celebration with one of my stepsons, because he had to fly back to California on the 23rd. The evening before his departure we made a special dinner that featured the whole menu of a recent show from the one and only Marcela Valladolid, entitled “My Favorite Holiday Dishes“. The main dish was Pork with Prunes and Pineapple Glaze (on the blog soon), and I expected it to be the star of our meal, but truth is that the first course, a simple, unassuming avocado mousse put up a great fight and according to some, took the Christmas Eve spotlight… 😉
AVOCADO AND CILANTRO MOUSSE
(slightly adapted from Marcela Valladolid)
1 to 1 + 1/2 bunches fresh cilantro, washed and dried, leaves picked off and reserved (about 2 cups loosely packed)
1 avocado (I used two small ones)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from about 1 lime
1 Serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and roughly chopped
1 cup cold water, divided
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
Spray 3 (1 cup) or 6 (1/2 cup) ramekins with vegetable oil cooking spray.
Place the cilantro, cream cheese, avocado, salt, lime juice, and chile in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it sit for a few minutes. Place the remaining 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the softened gelatin and whisk until the gelatin has dissolved.
Add the gelatin to the mixture in the food processor, pulsing until pureed and thoroughly blended.
Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. To unmold, fill a large container with very hot water. Dip the ramekins in the water for 1 minute. Run a small, sharp knife tip around the edge of each mousse. Invert onto a platter. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: I made my own tortilla strips to serve alongside the mousse, and I must say the work involved is minimal, but the pay-off huge. They were so much better than store-bought versions, both in texture and flavor. I just cut some yellow corn tortillas into strips, placed them on a baking sheet, sprayed with olive oil, and coated very lightly with salt and more liberally with Southwest Spice mix from Penzey’s. Baked at 375F until they start to crisp up and get brown.
The mousse… WOW! We started enjoying it quite politely, a little bit spread on a cracker, a little more on a tortilla strip, but by the end of the dinner we were slicing it and adding the cold slice on top of the pork tenderloin and moaning about it… We decided it will go well with pretty much anything, from grilled salmon to lamb burgers, and in case of emergency, licked from the tip of a finger when no one is looking. It is THAT good. Please, make it for your next dinner party, and stop by to thank me later… 😉
ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Popovers
TWO YEARS AGO: Merry Christmas!
THREE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Focaccia, with a twist
FOUR YEARS AGO: Merry Christmas!