Daily Archives: 04.14.2012

Salad Week: Cheese and Calavo Salad

I’m as perplexed as you are kittens.

But when we hatched the idea for this week, I just knew that I needed to action something out of the book that Michelle (my sister-in-law) rescued for me from her school’s library sale.

Vintage, right?

To this day, I will never know why it is that I decided Cheese and Calavo Salad was calling my name.  Because every time I get near a reason that might possibly sound rational, my mind wanders elsewhere.

After reading the extremely tiny concise recipe (the instructions calling for unlisted ingredients like avocados and not mentioning anything about the actual pears listed), I needed to do some Googling.

Because I just had this feeling that the book might have been written in a way that housewives of the time would have understood, but would leave women (and men) today totally clueless.

To wit: The only information I found regarding “Cheese and Calavo Salad” was tucked into a Berkley newspaper from 1944.

So this salad isn’t retro, it’s old-school Victory Garden-style.  Put on your gloves, take off your nylons, and get your ration coupons out.  Because this is happening.

What I learned after all was said and done: Had I Googled “Calavo” and “Calavo” alone, I would have learned that said name for a pear-shaped object was actually a commonly accepted term at the time for Avocados.

That this dish also involved some dark art relating to cheese balls should have been a warning sign (after reading a veritable trove of information on proper cheese ball-creation on the pages preceding it).

All together now: Debacle.

So in all reality, the entirety of this dish was a total sham and more closely resembles something that you would see the chefs on Chopped action for their first course, were they to find these things in their box.

Hindsight is 20/20, but we stay the course.

The ingredients.

Phase One: Fanning the Endive.  Sectioning the Avocado.  Dressing.

If you’re wanting to do something fancy like the above with your dressing, just dump it into a plastic bag, snip off the corner and then pipe it on.  Instant (disposable) glamour.

Phase Two: The impostor-pear.  Stuffing.  Sealing.  Slicing.

As per the one article I found, I felt called to stuff the pear with the cream cheese and then cross-section it in a manner that most closely recalled a Scotch Egg.  Don’t worry, halfway through the segmenting I sliced myself and we called it a day.

And, because I know y’all are hardcore committed to seeing this through until the end, the finished product.

Enjoy this visual while you can, because nothing of this order will ever be exiting my kitchen again.  It’s a hot mess on a plate.

Because I’m in search of constant validation, I may or may not have had Jillian over while I was assembling this because I wanted a second (non-masculine) opinion on the edibility of the dish.

Our opinions:   Separately, they (the avocado and the pear) both worked, but on the same plate they made no sense together.  Which obviously makes a lot of sense now.  The endive-avocado-dressing combination was actually pretty damn good.  On its own it would be a really pretty easy healthy appetizer for a summer BBQ.  The pear could use some honey and a few toasted nuts mixed into the filling.

These are little things once you come to terms with the fact that Calavo Pears are avocados and there shouldn’t have been any actual pears involved at any point in the proces.

And, because it’s Salad week, don’t forget to link-up on Allison’s blog with your recipes/photos and check out all of these lovely ladies and their creations!