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Do It Yourself: California Avocado Tacos from the Border Grill Truck

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California Avocado Taco (Lindsay William-Ross/LAist)

California Avocado Taco (Lindsay William-Ross/LAist)
We are fortunate in California to be the home of the avocado, and the velvety, creamy and good-for-you fruit happens to be really versatile. Although sometimes there's nothing quite like cutting a ripe avocado in half, dusting it with salt and pepper, and digging in with a spoon, there are plenty of ways to get cooking with avocados.

Recently we got an in-person lesson from two local chefs who have been longtime avocado advocates. Teaming up with the California Avocado Commission, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger hosted an avocado cooking (and eating) workshop at their downtown eatery Ciudad, where we learned how to make drinks, small bites, entrees, and dessert from avocados. (Okay, and we also won a surprise "quickfire" guacamole challenge inspired by Feniger's experience--and episode win--on Top Chef Masters.)

Of the dishes we saw made by the Too Hot Tamales, one of the standouts was the California Avocado Taco, which we first encountered last summer from the Border Grill food truck. Coating slices of fresh avocado with the unique seed-like crunch of quinoa, these tacos are a fun spin on a favorite hand-held food that happens to be both vegetarian--vegan, actually, and take advantage of the avocado.

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Recipe after the jump. And see Feniger battle it out with the 7 other masterful finalists tonight on Bravo in the Champions Round.

California Avocado Tacos
Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger; Serves 4

2 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
⅓ cup water
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup quinoa
⅓ cup poppy seeds
⅓ cup sesame seeds
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 ripe, firm, Fresh California Avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
Salt, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
8 (4-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
4 romaine lettuce leaves, torn in half
1 cup Corn Relish (see make-ahead recipe below)
8 cilantro sprigs, for garnish

1. Combine flour, water, cumin, salt and pepper to make a batter.
2. In a separate bowl, combine quinoa, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
3. Place flour for dusting into a third bowl.
4. Season avocado liberally with salt.
5. To coat avocado, dust wedges with flour, shaking off all excess. Dip floured wedges into batter to coat lightly and then roll each wedge in the seed mixture, pressing gently to form a complete crust. Place seeded avocados on a plate in the freezer for 20 minutes before frying.
6. Heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil to 375° F in a small pot. In batches, fry the coated avocado wedges in the hot oil until seeds are golden and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer to a rack to drain.
7. To assemble the tacos, place a piece of lettuce in the center of each warm tortilla and top with a crispy avocado wedge, a generous spoonful of Corn Relish and a cilantro sprig. Serve immediately.

Corn Relish
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh corn kernels
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 canned chipotle chile, seeded, if desired, and minced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté corn with salt and pepper, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
2. Add remaining ingredients and let sit 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve at room temperature.

See the recipe online here where you can adjust amounts for serving sizes and find more recipes using avocados.

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