Believe it or not, avocados are a fruit. That was Asti d’Italia chef Greg Keesy’s first thought when Charlie Stanford, the owner of the Italian spot in The Orchard, told him his secret ingredient. “My first thought was for an appetizer or a dip,” Stanford said, but his chef had other ideas—namely, a mousse.
Avocado mousse might sound a little strange, but please trust us when we tell you it’s the kind of strange you need to embrace. First, it’s beautiful, smooth and silky and the color of pistachio ice cream. Dolloped into a glass with a meringue cookie and fresh berries, it creates a striking presentation.
Second, it’s absolutely delicious. Blending the avocado with mascarpone cheese, cream and honey for sweetness, the mousse is light and delicate, creamy and rich with a velvety mouth feel that reminds you of all the good fats you’re consuming. Has to be healthy, right? The light fruitiness of the avocado is surprising; if you were tasting blind, you might not be able to identify the flavor, because it’s far from the bold taste one might imagine. But once you know what you’re looking for, the familiarity of the flavors is unmistakable.
Finally, this dessert is more than a little addictive. Stanford admitted that he’d been tasting…and tasting and tasting all afternoon.
“I’d take one bite, and suddenly it was five or six. And then I had to get to the cookie,” he said.
Clearly, so did we. The crispy lightness of the meringue was a pleasant surprise that blended well with the creamy mousse. Top it all with fresh, ripe berries and you absolutely have a winning combination.
“I wanted to do something different,” Keesy told us. “I didn’t want to make a plate of guacamole. I was trying to think outside the box.” While he’d done mousses of chocolate and other more traditional flavors before, this was a first. And a far cry from his normal use for avocados in a popular warm shrimp and avocado salad.
“I wanted to do something fun,” Keesy said.
Lucky for us, his idea of fun is also completely delicious.
Look for the avocado mousse perfetto as a dessert special throughout the month of June at Asti d’Italia in The Orchard center in Westminster. Call 303.457.3900 or visit astiditalia.com for reservations and more information.
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