Literally The Best Avocado Salad You’ll Ever Eat

Chef Sarah Gavigan is a force in the Music City food scene. With ventures like Pop, Otaku Ramen, and Little Octopus under her belt, the self-taught, Japanese-inspired restaurateur is making magic happen in the mouths of Nashville residents time and time again. Sarah’s latest venture, Bar Otaku, a traditional izakaja, is serving up Japanese small plates alongside boozy drinks, delivering all of my newfound favorites including cigar-style crab handrolls (seriously, where have you been all my life?), salmon onigiri, cold green bean salad, hamachi sashimi, and the most delectable combination of shoyu honey, black sesame, and sweet potatoes. Side note: The bar makes a killer margarita, which is not on the menu, but just ask for it and they will deliver. The sake bombs are good and fun, too!

One of my personal favorite things on the Little Octopus menu, may she rest in peace, was the Avo Salad. A seemingly simple side dish that packed a serious punch of flavor and transformed everyone’s favorite creamy fruit. With the closing of LO, a slight state of panic set in as I mourned the loss of the regular spot where my weekly avocado cravings were fulfilled. I had to know how to make this spectacular plate at home. Luckily for me Sarah obliged, and lucky for you she’s sharing it with Bleu, so we can all chow down on this culinary masterpiece. I hope you make it and love it as much as I do.

The line-up.
The line-up.

Avocado Salad

Yields four cups.

4 ripe avocados
¼ cup pickled red onion
¼ cup crispy shallot
1 tsp. scallion ash
1 cup sour orange dressing

Scoop out avocado into bowl, mixing in sour orange dressing, and salt to taste. Top with pickled red onion and crispy shallot. Sprinkle scallion ash over the top and across the plate.

To make the pickled red onion:
Heat all ingredients (listed below) until a gentle simmer is achieved. Pour over the onions and let set overnight.

325g red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup mirin
17g sugar
7g salt
1 dried Thai chili pepper

To make the sour orange dressing:
Puree first four ingredients (listed below) and emulsify with canola oil.

300g sour orange juice
75g white vinegar
15g salt
1 cup canola oil
Cayenne pepper to taste

To make the crispy shallots:
Put 4 cups of frying oil into a small saucepan. Add 100 grams of shallots and place pot over medium heat. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes (turn down heat if they seem to be coloring too quickly), until they gradually become brown.
Place a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl. Transfer shallots to sieve and let drain well.

To make the scallion ash:
Roast 4 scallions in the oven until black. Add to a food processor until powered.

Avo Salad.
Avo Salad.

Want more of Chef Sarah Gavigan’s food? Be sure to check out her first book Ramen Otaku: Mastering Ramen At Home.

Written by: James Kicinski-McCoy

James Kicinski-McCoy is the 40-something Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Bleu. She likes tequila, picks fights with her husband so she can have the bed to herself, and is trying to figure out that work / life balance.

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