Riverside, California (NAPSI) -California avocado season is in full swing, just in time for summer holiday barbecues and casual get-togethers. The California Avocado Commission has partnered with chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger to share great ideas for jazzing up any summer gathering menu with delectable and nutritiousCalifornia avocados.

Milliken and Feniger, also known as the “Too Hot Tamales,” have both competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and are co-chef/owners of the popular Border Grill restaurants, along with the Border Grill Truck. Feniger also is the chef/owner of MudHen Tavern in Los Angeles.

“I make no secret of my affection for California avocados,” said Feniger, “With the fruit being at its peak availability during the summer, I think they are an absolutely perfect ingredient to bring for a picnic at the beach, for a neighborhood cocktail party, or for any other hot-weather shindig.”

“California avocados are perfect as a cool creamy sauce with spicy barbeque, and they add great texture to salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes,” said Milliken. “We’ve created some delicious new recipes that showcase how versatile this fruit can be.”

California-grown avocados are the ultimate fruit—a nutritious superfood that provides “good” fats and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

The “Too Hot Tamales” have created some tasty recipes that will take your BBQ or summer get-together to the next level, including a “California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette,” which wows with an impressive tower presentation.

California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette

Serves: 4


8 (1/8-in. thick) slices country bread

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. sea salt

4 grinds fresh pepper

2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, peeled, seeded and quartered

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced

4 Tbsp. Bacon Vinaigrette (see make-ahead recipe below)


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Lay bread slices on a cookie sheet.

3. Mix together olive oil, pepper and half the salt. Brush this mixture evenly on bread slices and place in oven. Cook until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes.

4. Cool bread completely, then place in a resealable plastic bag and crush into irregular croutons.

5. Mash six of the avocado quarters with the remaining salt.

6. Divided among each serving plate, layer one slice of tomato and drizzle with small, equal amounts of Bacon Vinaigrette. Follow with avocado mash and sprinkles of crispy crumbs. Repeat in each stack until all ingredients are used.

7. Slice the remaining avocado quarter into six thin slices and place two slices on top each stack.

8. Drizzle with remaining bacon vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Bacon Vinaigrette*


4 thick slices bacon, cut into short 1/ 1/16-in. thick pieces

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. apple vinegar

½ Tbsp. honey

½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp then drain on paper towels.

2. Transfer a spoonful of bacon fat to a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.

3. Whisk to form vinaigrette.

*Note: Recipe yields about 1/3 cup of Bacon Vinaigrette. There will be some left over.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 500; Total Fat 27 g (Sat 3.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 4.5 g, Mono 16 g); Cholesterol <5 mg; Sodium 710 mg; Potassium 700 mg; Total Carbohydrates 56 g; Dietary Fiber 9 g; Total Sugars 11 g; Protein 10 g>

For more summer-themed recipes created by Milliken and Feniger that feature fresh California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com.