I bought the Dec 2010 issue of Australian Good Food just for this recipe. I love the beautiful photo of green avocado, butter-yellow potatoes, golden brown toasts and black sesame specks on the large white oval plate.
It's avocado season here and although I do prefer local avocados because they are fresher and cheaper than imported ones, I find them trickier to buy than the Californian and Oz avocados because many times they don't ripen even if their seeds rattle when shaken. Buying avocados when they are half-ripened is the best bet so I have to remember (which I don't) to buy them a couple of days before I need them.
Salads to me are a bunch of leaves and maybe a fruit, dried or fresh, and a good dressing. This recipe called for boiling some crabs for their flesh (the amount of work!), roasting one bulb of garlic for 45 minutes and boiling the potatoes for 15 minutes. It was too much work for a salad, especially for lunch. I cut the prep time by using prawns and boiled the garlic with the potatoes and then fried it in olive oil--do I feel clever about that-- to get the toasted flavor. I'd be crazy to have my oven on for nearly an hour (including pre-heating time) just to roast one bulb of garlic.
This is an impressive and delicious salad for a party, so keep it for such occasions. I'd throw in some mangoes too and have extra croutons separately. I enjoyed the croutons. So tasty.
I have given the original recipe and my adapted version below. Enjoy.
Avocado Potato Salad
1 garlic bulb
2 T olive oil (I used EVOO)
12 (I'd use more, much more) slices ficelle or thin sourdough baguette (I used ordinary baguette sliced about 3/4 cm thick)
1 kg uncooked blue swimmer crabs (I used unshelled prawns)
500 kg kipfler potatoes (what we call 'Holland' potatoes)
2 ripe avocados
100 g micro greens or baby greens (I used micro pea sprouts)
finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 2 T lemon juice
1 t honey (I used 2 t)
1 t Dijon mustard (I used 2 t Grey Poupon but Maille is good too)
1/3 cup EVOO
2 T olive oil (didn't use; EVOO above good enough)
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt for seasoning
2 t black sesame seeds (I only had white ones but black seeds would be more dramatic)
--Whisk together using a small whisk. Add seeds last. Season to taste.
note: This dressing is so good I recommend you make 1 1/2 to 2 times this amount but it's up to you.
1. Scrub the potatoes. Boil potatoes (I cut large ones into 1/2 lengthwise after 7 or 8 minutes of boiling to reduce cooking time. If cut early and boiled, they will 'fray' at the cut sides) and the bulb of garlic in salted water. The garlic will get done first so remove them first. Boil the potatoes until just tender, about 12 to 15 minutes depending on their size. I like to switch off the fire when the potatoes are just tender and still firm but a skewer can go thru, and then leave them covered in the pot for another 10 minutes. If you use heavy-based pots, always do that with pasta, potatoes and long-cooking items to save gas. Drain, cool and peel the potatoes. Cut into thick slices. Chill.
Put a tablespoon (or less) olive oil in a frying pan and fry the boiled garlic until browned. Remove.
2. Remove dirt veins from the prawns, boil until just cooked and shell them. Cool, then chill. If using crabs, boil and remove the meat.
3. Peel avocados and cut into large chunks and chill.
4. Lastly (do this last, so the croutons stay crisp), brush the baguette slices with the remaining olive oil and toast in oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden and crisp. Press the garlic pulp out into a small bowl and mash them. Spread garlic mash onto the croutons or press them onto the croutons to spread.
5. Arrange the potato, avocado, crab meat/prawns and micro greens on a serving platter. Place the croutons/toasted bread slices around the salad and drizzle dressing over.