I never thought of Alton Brown as being overweight, though I don't always watch Good Eats or Iron Chef America (or anything else, really) on a regular basis, so when I saw him on more recent episodes of Iron Chef, I thought he must be very ill – so gaunt! – and I felt a surge of sympathy and admiration for him as he soldiered on, clearly determined to continue his work despite whatever debilitation he was battling privately.
Pretty sad, huh? That I confused HEALTHY-LOOKING with DESPERATELY ILL.
I love avocado. I love sardines. In fact, our whole family likes both foods and we eat them fairly often. So I knew we'd have to try this sandwich. Not to lose weight (well, except for me), but because it was clearly healthy and looked really yummy.
So the other day I picked up some avocados and some tins of sardines and whole wheat pita bread, and I made the sandwich with just a little bit of variation. You can find the original recipe here. Below is the version I threw together. It makes 6 servings.
2 small tins of sardines in olive oil (I like them packed in mustard, too.)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
3 whole wheat pita pockets
What to do:
Remove sardines from their tins and reserve oil (or mustard, or whatever your sardines are packed in) in a separate bowl. If you don't like the spines (my husband doesn't), remove those from the sardines.
Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to oil and combine. Pour back into sardines and gently combine. Set aside.
Slice each avocado in half. Remove pit. Now place one avocado half (still in the skin – it makes it easier to handle) on a cutting board, flesh side down, and slice (carefully) in half, across the avocado, so you end up with a large egg-shaped portion with a hole (from the pit) near the center, and a smaller egg-shaped portion that's flat on one side and curved on the other. Repeat with remaining avocado halves. Carefully peel the skins off the pieces of avocado, keeping the flesh intact if possible.
Now, I used a grill pan for this next step. You could use a grill, too, or, if you don't have either, use a griddle or frying pan. Brush the avocado slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place on griddle or grill and cook until the avocado has golden brown grill lines across it (or is just golden brown across the surface). Flip them over and repeat on other sides of the avocado slices.
Remove and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Why grill the avocado? No, it's not necessary. But it adds a bit more flavor, a bit more complexity, and so if you can, why not? Okay, yes, it adds a little more fat to the formula, but it's olive oil, not bacon. (Though…hmmm…a couple of slices of bacon would be pretty yummy in there, too.)
Anyway, once the avocados have cooled a little, split your pita bread in half and stuff each half with some of the sardine mixture and some of the avocado flesh.
The night I made these, we each had one portion (one half of the pita bread), and I saved the rest for lunches for the next day. Interestingly, the grilled avocado slices that remained showed no sign of the usual avocado discoloration. Perhaps another reason to grill them.
And the verdict? 3 out of 4 members of my family LOVED the combination, and the 1 remaining member didn't hate it (it was Julia) – she ate about half. But it didn't make her swoon. Alex, on the other end of the spectrum, made little happy whimpers of joy while he devoured his.
So there you go. Yummy, easy, and healthy. Thanks, AB!