For some reason, I keep encountering South America lately.
For example, I recently saw this recipe on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” where it was being made at La Caraquena, a Venezuelan restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. They called it Sifrina and it looked so delicious I just knew I had to make it right away.
Then, I saw these amazing plans for a solar-powered waterfall that will serve as the symbol of the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. How awesome is that thing?
Next, my older brother just returned from a vacation in — you guessed it — Columbia, which is in South America. This can’t be a coincidence!
Whatever the reason, I’m glad South America keeps coming into the picture because it’s a continent that many Americans know little about, but which has incredible culinary treasures for us to explore.
Among them is this recipe for avocado chicken salad. Avocados, especially when made into guacamole, is one of my wife’s and my favorite foods. This little fruit — which is sometimes called alligator pear in the South — is the perfect combination of creamy richness and healthy vitamins.
Even though avocados grow on trees, they are high in monosaturated fat, which accounts for about 75 percent of the fruit’s soft and lush meat. As a result, they blend well with chicken and suspend the flavors of the other ingredients perfectly in this salad.
Plus, avocados are good for you. They have more potassium than bananas, and are rich in Vitamin B, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. They can lower your cholesterol, reduce hypertension, help prevent diabetes, and may even prevent you from getting cancer!
When buying avocados, you can determine their ripeness by gently pressing on them. If they give just a little, they are perfectly ripe. If they don’t give at all, they are underripe and can be ripened quickly by putting them in a sealed paper bag for a day or two. If they are squishy, they are overripe and unusable.
Avocado Chicken Salad (Sifrina)
3 ripe avocados, peeled and seed removed
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked (about 8 to 12 ounces)
1/4 cup red onion, small dice
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, small dice
1 medium tomato, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 TBS mayonaisse
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
Dash hot sauce
1. Place avocado and lime juice in mixing bowl and mash with potato masher until smooth. Add chicken, mayonnaise, onion, jalapeno, tomato, cheese, and hot sauce and fold together with spatula.
2. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors can meld together. When you are ready to serve, use an ice cream scooper to scoop a generous portion of the sifrina onto whole wheat burger buns.
Although avocados usually turn brown due to oxidation fairly quickly, the lime juice prolongs this process and this stayed fresh in my refrigerator overnight with little to no reduction in quality. I served mine with oven-roasted sweet potato fries.
An aside: I just returned from a relaxing week’s vacation in Los Angeles, where my younger brother and his wonderful new wife live and where I ate like a sultan! I swear, we ate our way across that city and I probably gained 10 pounds, but it was so worth it! I will write a blog soon about the incredible food I enjoyed on the West Coast, but it’s also great to be back home.