So, here’s the thing: people LOVE avocado. Because avocado is delicious, healthy, and versatile. It’s possibly one of my favorite foods, I enjoy avocado very regularly, and it has that magical capability to elevate even the simplest meal to something very special.
I created this recipe for Egg-Stuffed Avocado Olé with (with what I think is) some south-of-the-border flair as a festive Cinco de Mayo breakfast idea, and as a tribute to the precious treasure that is the avocado. Because with all of this avocado lovin’ going on, I wondered how this was impacting global avocado supply (because of course I did ) and there are some eco-conscious complications for everyone’s favorite creamy green toast topper.
Since I live in San Francisco, I’m intimately aware of the recent California drought, and I know it impacted California avocado production. Did you know it takes 74 gallons of water to grow a pound of avocados, as compared to a crop like tomatoes, which takes only 10 gallons per pound. The 2017 California avocado crop is estimated at approximately half the size as last year’s. Although some California avocado growers are experimenting with techniques such as high-density planting to make their production more efficient, it takes 2.6x the global average amount of water (28.4 gallons per pound of avocados) to grow the crop in California.
Perhaps Mexican avocado production has ramped to meet soaring demand without too much damage to the environment? But a quick Google search reveals bad news: rising avocado prices are fueling illegal deforestation in Mexico, starting a cascade of environmental consequences. Could avocados become the next palm oil, resulting in mass deforestation, habitat loss, and release of damaging greenhouse gasses? Should we be treating them as a delicacy rather than an everyday food? According to Greenpeace Mexico:
“The aggressive advance of the agricultural frontier at the expense of forests has been driven by the high demand and the high price of avocado at the national and international level. The contradiction between the public policies associated with the forestry sector and land use have weakened local government institutions and permit the fragmentation and privatization of common property forest land.”
As conscious consumers, we play a part in what happens to our little green gem of a planet daily through our food choices. There are no easy answers here, especially where avocado is concerned. So let’s treasure them, friends. Eat avocados as a treat, and in celebration, but understand that they have an impact on our environment, whether grown locally or in other countries.
I hope you enjoy this Egg-Stuffed Avocado Olé recipe for Cinco de Mayo or any other extra-special breakfast.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice the avocado in half, compost the pit. Scoop out a bit of the avocado to make a larger and deeper cavity (to hold the eggs).
Crack an egg over a measuring cup with a spout or something similar. Cradle the egg yolk gently in one-half of the egg shell, while letting the egg whites drain down into the measuring cup. The goal is to separate the egg whites from the yolk, it may be necessary to gently disconnect some of the egg whites from the yolk with your fingers. Gently tip the yolk, being careful not to break it, into a shot glass or other very small cup. Repeat the process of separating the yolk from the whites with a second egg, combining the whites but keeping the two yolks apart.
Gently whisk the egg whites, to break them up, then carefully divide them between the two avocado halves. Depending on the side of your eggs and avocados, you may have too much egg whites for your avocado halves. If the avocados are almost filled and you have excess egg whites, set them aside for another use (do not over-fill the avocados).
Place the avocado halves on a baking sheet, making sure they’re level. It may be necessary to insert some folded parchment paper or other oven-safe material under the tips of the avocado halves to level them. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes until the whites are firm.
Remove the avocado halves from the oven and gently tip one yolk onto each of them (use a spoon to steady the yolk on the surface of the avocado and position it, if necessary). Return the avocado halves to the oven for an additional 5 minutes, maximum, to cook the yolks slightly while still keeping them runny.
Transfer the avocado to a plate, and top with salsa, queso fresco, cilantro, red chili flakes, jalapeño, and salt and pepper. Serve warm.