Avocado and Rocket Salad

Rocket or arugula (Eruca sativa; also called rucola in Italian, and roquette in French) is one of my favorite things. Its perfect liaisons are avocado, and nut oils, like hazelnut and walnut. Rocket and avocado is one of those flavor combinations made in heaven, like rosemary and lamb, savory and favas, and vanilla and cream.

I see no reason why in America we should not call rocket by its venerable old English name, even if in danger of appearing guilty of inverse affectation.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh chervil leaves
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large bunch young rocket, stemmed, washed, dried
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • pinch salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the lime juice, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl, and mix together. Once the salt has dissolved, whisk in the two oils.

Chop the chervil leaves very finely and mix them into the mayonnaise.

When ready to serve the salads, cut the avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pits, and scoop out the flesh in one piece with a large spoon. Put the avocado halves cut face down on a board, and slice them crosswise into -inch-thick slices. Pick each half up with a knife or flat spatula, and lift it onto a chilled plate. Press down with your hand to fan out each half.

Put the rocket in the bowl with the lime dressing, and toss until the rocket is well coated. Then put the rocket on the inside curve of the fanned-out avocado. Put the tomato in the same salad bowl, and toss it in whatever lime juice and oil is left. Put the tomato on top of the rocket.

Drizzle the chervil mayonnaise over the salads.

Variations

Instead of using chervil, flavor the mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh galingale (or young pink ginger) and ½ tablespoon chipotle chili puree (canned is fine). And if you can find Rangpur limes, use the juice and grated zest from them.

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