Grilled Avocado & Tomato Salad

Serves 8

There is a common theme with my home cooking; I call it Kitchen Focus in Chapter 1, but what it’s really about is planning. So many dishes can be done ahead of time and taste better for it. This salad, however, is not one of those make-ahead recipes. It must be done at the last minute possible and served immediately. A grill makes a delicious avocado even better. But a ripe avocado is so delicate is takes little cooking: just touch it to the grill for a moment to bring out its floral aroma.

4 unpeeled avocados, halved and pits removed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
4 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced

For the Dressing:
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon avocado oil (optional)
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh basil, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon pimento
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Season the avocados with salt and pepper and rub with the olive oil and lime juice. Place the avocados flesh side down on the grill and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Arrange the tomato slices on a serving platter and generously season with salt and pepper. With a large soup spoon, remove the avocado halves from their skins and slice about ½ inch thick. Alternate the avocados with the tomatoes on the platter.
  3. For the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad.