The all-but-total shutdown of Australia’s restaurant industry has had a flow-on impact for many producers. It’s why you can now get sashimi-grade Mooloolaba tuna at the supermarkets, insanely well-priced cheese direct from urban provedores and rare wine from Instagram.
The cancellation of Australian brunch culture has also put pasture to one of the country’s most ordered dishes: avocado toast.
Three months of no brunch has largely curbed avocado consumption, even as we transitioned from Shepard to Hass season last month (traditionally a Big Deal for avo fans). Domestic consumption accounts for 95% of avocados grown in Australia, a market worth an estimated $398m each year – so the brunch shutdown has been brutal.
At the moment, at $2.50 each, you can get two breakfasts worth of silky, buttery toast fodder – making avocado one of the most affordable iso-luxuries around.
And it truly is a luxury at the moment. The quality of the current season Hass is beautiful, calling for nothing more than good salt flakes, a squeeze of lemon and a spoon to enjoy.
Hass are the fat, creamy avos with pebbly dark shells that come into season through May, taking over from the lean, green Shepards that dominate throughout autumn.
You don’t really need recipes for avocado. Many people (your correspondent included) consider cooking them to be a heinous offence. There are many, many delicious things to do with an avocado – sentencing it to death-by-pizza oven is not one of them.
There’s the Aussie basics: sliced over salads, as burger and taco filling, a breakfast side with bacon, and served with various bits as part of the health-conscious grain bowl trend.
Yotam Ottolenghi makes a freshened-up version of a prawn cocktail, draping curried and lime-laced prawns over whole halves. His wasabi and spring onion guacamole (paired with turkey and zucchini fritters) is also very good.
The creamy texture is beloved by the wellness set, worked into everything from morning smoothies to brownies to chocolate mousse. But avocado desserts aren’t all virtuous.
This Indonesian dessert whips into a dark rum and chocolate pudding. Meera Sodha’s matcha and avocado ice-cream, churned on a base of sweetened condensed coconut milk, well and truly steals the crown for dairy-free frozen treats.
Grilled chicken salads are an obvious place to park your avo – try adding on toasted walnuts, pickled red onion, crumbled feta, radish and a zingy dressing for a crowd-pleaser.
At the more elegant end of the salad spectrum, Claire Ptak drapes thinly sliced kohlrabi with avocado, anchovies and hazelnuts. Jackie Middleton does a good-fat-packed salmon, avocado and hummus bowl, or go simple-as with Nigel…