This post was written by Liani Astacio, Communications Intern at The Sylvia Center and Prep for Prep scholar.
In West Brighton’s class, in a “Healthy Fats” themed class, students learned that not all fats are made equal. Healthy fats are important because they help our bodies absorb nutrients and vitamins, and build fat cells that insulate our bodies. Cheese, dark chocolate, and fatty fish are a few examples of healthy fats students learned about. To demonstrate healthy fats, students prepared, a flavorful, mouth-watering Peach and Avocado Salad, with olive oil and avocado as examples of healthy fats. Throughout the course of the class, students experienced different types of flavors, combining sweet, spicy, and bitter flavors in a healthy, delicious salad. The salad dressing introduced a number of flavors from sweet honey, to spicy chile, sour lemon, and shallot.
Teamwork was key in preparing this delicious recipe. Sarah, one of our Community Chef Instructors, designated several groups: one in charge of the avocados, another in charge of peaches, and others working on the seasoning. Sarah taught the students how to cut peaches using the tunnel knife technique. Many students preferred the bear claw technique over the tunnel knife technique, and learned an abridged bear claw cutting technique that would work well with cutting peaches. The day was a real test of different knife skills, with students also learning the chiffonade cutting technique and practicing on mint leaves, which they used to garnish their salads.
Once the students finished cutting their ingredients, they executed perhaps the most important part of making a salad: the dressing. Our students’ dressing included olive oil (rich in healthy fat) and vinegar, with the addition of herbs and spices.
Not only were students trying new foods in this cooking class, they also learned different ways to eat and cook their favorite foods. Prior to the day’s class, many students had only experienced avocado in guacamole, but the inclusion of avocado in the salad introduced them to a new way of eating healthy fat.While the peaches were the real winners for the day for the students, all the students were willing to give the avocado a try.
This recipe is a perfect way to add healthy fats to your diet! Try it at home and experience the delicious and unique flavors of this Sylvia Center recipe.
Spicy Peach and Avocado Salad
Serves 8 – 10
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. pure honey
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Fresno chile, sliced thin (or chili of your choice)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ripe but firm peaches, cut into wedges
4 avocados, pitted and cut into wedges
1 cup fresh mint, chiffonade (more for garnish)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- Heat oven to 350°F. Spread pine nuts on pan and bake 5 – 10 minutes until evenly golden.
- Whisk together lemon juice, oil, honey, shallot, and chile in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add peaches and toss to coat. Let sit at least 15 minutes (and up to 1 hour).
- Just before serving, add avocado and mint and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Top with pine nuts and garnish with mint.