Shades of Verde: Baked egg in avocado with pepita pesto

Shades of Verde: Baked egg in avocado with pepita pesto

Makes for a healthy, filling breakfast.

I must admit that two of my favorite things in the food world are avocados and breakfast. I could eat the soft, green fruit (yep, it’s a fruit) on just about anything and even by itself, and breakfast to me isn’t just a meal that can only be eaten during one time of the day.

Recently, I’ve been pondering: How can I incorporate avocados into breakfast? Yeah, I could chop it up and put it on top of my eggs or slather it on toast, but what about using an avocado as the star attraction on my morning plate? Then it came to me. Instead of putting avocado on top of the eggs, why not put the eggs into the avocado? So I baked an egg inside an avocado half. Think ‘Toad in a Hole’ minus the toast and replaced with an avocado.

Now I’ll admit that I’m nowhere near the first person to attempt this, but the recipe I used below is a fresh and jazzed up way to eat huevos en aguacate (free Spanish lesson for ya there). By itself, the dish is a bit plain, so it definitely needs to be topped with a salsa or sauce. I whipped up a batch of pepita (pumpkin seed) pest with basil and cilantro, and the culinary marriage was a match made in heaven, as the tangy pesto cuts through the fattiness of the avocado and egg. Finish it off with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or hot sauce and you’re set.

Now don’t limit this to just a breakfast — this could easily serve as a lunch or dinner main dish as well. It’s also very filling, so one half of an avocado and one egg per serving is plenty. Bonus: for you folks with dietary issues or on special diets, this recipe is vegetarian, gluten- and nut-free, and perfect for someone following the Paleo diet.

Baked Egg in Avocado with Pepita Pesto
Makes 2 servings

1 large avocado
2 eggs
A pinch of salt and pepper
Pepita Pesto (see below)
Optional: cayenne pepper, hot sauce, etc.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the avocado. Remove the pit with a chef’s knife by giving it a good whack and twisting it out; remove it from knife with a dish towel. If the indentation is too small for your eggs, scoop out some of the avocado. Stabilize avocados on a baking tray by creating “nests” out of aluminum foil (so they don’t wobble around).

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, one at a time, and then pour each into the hollows of the avocados. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of salt and pepper, then bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the yolks are cooked to your liking.

Serve topped with Pepita Pesto and a dash of cayenne or hot sauce.

Pepita Pesto
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup basil
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
2/3-3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Add herbs, pepper flakes and pumpkin seeds into blender or food processor and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2/3 cup olive oil, then drizzle in the water and process until completely smooth. If mixture is too runny, add more olive oil, if it’s too thick, add more water. Add lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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