21 ways to savor avocados We know they make good guac; now get ready for a few dinner surprises. Avocado fries, anyone? Avocados with Warm Bacon Parsley Vinaigrette Crunchy bacon brings out the smokiness of a good Hass avocado, and the sharp vinaigrette helps cut its richness. Recipe: Avocados with Warm Bacon Parsley Vinaigrette Pinterest Spicy Avocado Poblano Salad Roasted chiles, crunchy jicama and radishes, silky avocado, crumbly cheese, and a spicy-sweet dressing make this salad an explosion of flavor and texture. Try it with pork chops or a juicy steak. Recipe: Spicy Avocado Poblano Salad Sake Soy Guacamole This is loosely based on a recipe from Hawaiian chef Alan Wong. Serve it with daikon sticks, radishes, or taro chips. Recipe: Sake Soy Guacamole Avocado Fries Crunchy on the outside, creamy and nutty inside, these fries are totally over the top. Chef Trey Foshee, at George’s at the Cove restaurant in La Jolla, California, serves them with grilled steak. Recipe: Avocado Fries Grilled Cilantro Chicken with Pickled Tomato and Avocado Salsa Look no further for this season’s go-to grilled chicken dish from chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Border Grill in Santa Monica and Las Vegas and Ciudad in Los Angeles. They marinate chicken very simply, then spoon an addictive Indian-style pickled salsa on top. Recipe: Grilled Cilantro Chicken with Pickled Tomato and Avocado Salsa Grilled Corn Poblano Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette The spicy poblano and the creamy avocado are a natural match in this grilled corn salad. Recipe: Grilled Corn Poblano Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette Egg, Avocado, and Crispy Prosciutto Pitas Baking prosciutto intensifies its flavor and gives it a crispy texture in these breakfast sandwiches. If you're eating them on the go, just wrap them in waxed paper. Recipe: Egg, Avocado, and Crispy Prosciutto Pitas Smoked Salmon and Avocado Rice Triangles These elegant bites make for a healthy party appetizer. Recipe: Smoked Salmon and Avocado Rice Triangles Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Oranges In this balanced and nutritious salad, you get protein from two sources, the citrus brightens up the flavors, and the avocado adds a touch of richness. Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Oranges Black Bean Soup with Avocado, Orange, and Cucumber This Southwestern-inspired soup hits all the right notes: solid protein from the beans, crunchiness from the cucumber, creaminess from the avocado, a sweet hit of acidity from the citrus, and a hint of spice. Recipe: Black Bean Soup with Avocado, Orange, and Cucumber Grilled Tofu, Bacon, and Avocado Sandwiches You know bacon and avocado play well together from such sandwiches as the BLT. But this recipe amps up the delectable duo by adding extra protein and more complex flavor. Marinate and grill a slab of tofu and slide it into a ciabatta roll along with the vegetables and bacon. Sriracha and a drizzle of the ginger-soy marinade pack extra punch. Recipe: Grilled Tofu, Bacon, and Avocado Sandwiches Veggie Sticks with Avocado-Lime Dip This lightened version of chips and guac will impress your party guests. Recipes: Veggie Sticks with Avocado-Lime Dip Kimchi and Avocado Quesadillas If you like Mexican recipes and you like kimchi, then this quesadilla is for you. We prefer the super spicy kimchi, but use any brand that you like. Recipe: Kimchi and Avocado Quesadillas Speedy Chicken Posole with Avocado and Lime This dish, using canned hominy, takes a fraction of the time needed for regular posole. Serve with warm corn tortillas. Recipe: Spicy Chicken Posole with Avocado and Lime Indian Guacamole Mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, and coriander give this Western classic an Eastern spin. Recipe: Indian Guacamole Avocado, Grapefruit, and Shiso Salad The warm anise flavor of shiso, encouraged by the licoricey fennel, comes through clearly in this pretty salad. You can use either red or green shiso (red is slightly stronger in flavor) or a combination. Recipe: Avocado, Grapefruit, and Shiso Salad Grilled Salmon Avocado Pitas Avocado adds a rich flavor while wasabi mayonnaise kicks up the heat in this easy-to-prepare dish. Pile on pieces of grilled salmon and stuff into a pita pocket for a quick meal that is sure to be a family favorite. Recipe: Grilled Salmon Avocado Pitas Grilled Steak with Avocado and Red Onion Salad You can eat the steak, salad, and tortillas separately, or wrap them up fajita-style, maybe with a side of black beans. Recipe: Grilled Steak with Avocado and Red Onion Salad Grilled Steak and Vegetable Salad with Chipotle Chimichurri Dressing Using both fresh and smoked jalapeños (chipotles) gives this version of chimichurri, the Argentinean steak sauce, lots of flavor without being wildly spicy. Recipe: Grilled Steak and Vegetable Salad with Chipotle Chimichurri Dressing California-Style Bibimbap This recipe is a fresh take on bibimbap, a Korean rice dish traditionally topped with meat, vegetables, egg, and chili paste. It’s fast, easy, and doesn’t require a trip to a specialty store. Recipe: California-Style Bibimbap Coconut Avocado Ice Cream Silky smooth, luscious, and surprisingly good with chocolate sauce. Recipe: Coconut Avocado Ice Cream How to get the most from your avocado: flavor and beauty 1) Use it when it’s just ripe. How to tell? Squeeze it with your whole hand; it should have the same “give” as chilled butter. 2) Preserve the tastiest part, the dark green layer under the skin. First, remove the pit: Cut lengthwise around the middle to the center and twist halves apart. Thunk a chef’s knife into pit and twist to pull out. To get pit off, slide against inner rim of kitchen sink. If you’re mashing the avocado, scrape it out with a spoon. If you want beautiful, perfect slices and dice, score skin down center with a paring knife and carefully pull off peel. Grow your own avocados Instead of sprouting an avocado pit like a preschool project ― the resulting harvest, if any, will take at least 5 years and may not taste very good in the end ― buy a young tree. You can grow a Hass in Sunset climate zones 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, and 24; for zone explanations and complete growing instructions, see the Sunset Western Garden Book or sunset.com/climatezones. Along with an appropriate climate, give your tree enough space (canopies can spread 30 feet); excellent drainage; and enough water so that soil is moist but not wet.