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Nicole Franz is a copy editor and paginator at The News-Herald in Willoughby. She takes all those sweet recipes, grueling workouts, cleaning tips, money-saving tricks, do-it-yourself projects and looks that seem so cool on Pinterest and writes about how they really turn out.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Baked avocado fries are yummy alternative to fried snacks

I love avocados. They’re high in potassium, they have the “good fat” (whatever that is exactly), and they’re yummy. If they were consistently inexpensive they’d be a regular part of my diet, instead of an oooh-they’re-on-sale-so-I’ll-buy-four kind of item. 

I also crave greasy junk food from time to time (who doesn’t?), but I’m trying to be healthy and shed a few pounds. That’s why my eyes kind of light up when I see pins for foods that have that deep-fried/sugary/fatty look, but promise a healthier way to achieve the taste be it by baking, substituting ingredients, or whatever.

This pin for baked avocado fries might have actually made me salivate a bit. I love French fries dipped and avocados (so much fat!), but had never thought of cutting the potato out of the equation entirely. 

The pin actually refers you to this blog, which then refers you to another blog called Adventured in Cooking, where the recipe (and some pretty cute photos of the blogger’s baby son reside). Beth (the blogger), adopted a deep-fried avocado fries recipe from Circle B. Kitchen, another blog about food. Have I lost you yet?

I stuck with Beth’s recipe, which is exactly the same as the deep-fried version minus the canola oil and frying part.


1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges 
Grated parmesan for serving (optional)

Easiest part of the recipe accomplished!


Preheat oven to 450. 
Coat avocado slices in the four, then egg, then panko. Spread on a cooling rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, then place on a cookie sheet.  Spray the top of the wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for about 20 minutes at 450, or until they are golden brown (I turned my oven up to 500 for the last 5 minutes).

How it went

Assembly-line style: Flour to egg to panko.
 I started off by assembling all the ingredients, I’d even bought kosher salt for this recipe (and many others I’m going to try for this blog). I had plain bread crumbs from Giant Eagle and figured those would sub for panko, nicely. 

“2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges.” Each avocado ended up yielding about 10 slices for me. I guesstimated instead of measuring so my wedges weren’t uniform. 

Bald patches on my avocado fries.
“Coat avocado slices in the four, then egg, then panko.” This one got a little messy (I’m starting to think it might be me). Avocados are slick to begin with, and the flour/egg/bread crumb combo seemed to get a little tricky. I arranged everything assembly-line style, and started by hand. That ended up with my paws covered in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. I tried to use a fork. That ended up with my hands slightly less covered in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, but kind of ended up breaking one of my avocado slices in half. I tried using tongs and that didn’t help. I ended up using a fork/hand combo that seemed to work for me. The other problem I encountered here was getting everything to coat evenly on the avocados. I seemed to be brushing off flour, and then it would clump on the avocado slices awkwardly then fall off in the egg. I ended up with slices that had patches where the coating didn’t take.
First batch ready to bake.

“Spread on a cooling rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, then place on a cookie sheet.” I actually don’t own a cooling rack. I do own a toaster oven though. And that toaster oven has a mini-oven rack that I can pull out. I used that as my makeshift cooling rack. It’s not terribly large, so I did my avocados in two batches. I failed to spray the rack on the first batch. (Spoiler alert: You should spray the rack.) 

I knew I should have checked them sooner.
“Spray the top of the wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.” I actually didn’t have spray olive oil and couldn’t find a reasonably priced can when I went looking in the grocery store, so I just went with a light dusting of canola oil, to get my light dusting of salt to stick. 

“Bake for about 20 minutes at 450, or until they are golden brown.” My oven runs hot, which I found out when I baked blueberry cheesecake cookies, so I turned it down to about 425 and put them in. I checked them at 17 minutes and they got a little darker than I would have liked. I wished I’d checked them a minute or two earlier. 


Burnt but still edible.
Pulling my slightly burnt pieces off the rack ended up breaking them in half a few times, which I'm sure could have been avoided with some cooking spray.

I waited a minute or two for them to cool enough to not scald my tongue and dug in. They have a great crunch on the outside and a real creamy inside. They easily fall apart though so be careful. I enjoyed them all right with the Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, but I thought they would do well with a much bolder spice, like red pepper or Cajun seasoning.

Second batch, a little more appetizing, a lot less burnt.
My second batch I sprayed the rack and they came out much easier. I also added Cajun seasoning to the salting portion of the recipe. I cooked the second batch for about 15 minutes after nudging my oven down a hair from 425 degrees. My tweaking resulted in a much less burnt version of the avocado fries. This appetizing plate was calling me. I enjoyed this batch without parmesan more. The Cajun spices blending well with avocado, but I think you could season to your taste with any number of different spices. I’m not a big parmesan cheese fan (it’s not even in my top three white cheeses), so those who are more into its flavors might enjoy that seasoning better than my Cajun version.

Second batch turned out well and tasty.
I definitely recommend them for taste, but it’s a bit of a hassle as a recipe and quite messy. I think it’s a versatile recipe with lots of potential variations, but it’s not going to be one I bust out a lot. But if you’re looking for a fried food alternative and you’re an avocado fan, this should definitely be in the mix.

— Nicole Franz | | @FranzOrFoe
Follow my Mission: Pinpossible board on Pinterest.

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