The Basque region of Spain is both incredibly beautiful and rich in great food, so when The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij, Eder Montero, and Rebecca Flint Marx came across our desks, we were immediately excited to take a peek.
The following recipe takes a simple avocado and turns it into a stunning starter with a few simple, high-quality ingredients. We might not be able to get paprika quite as special as the one Alexandra and Eder used, but hopefully we can capture some of the magic of this dish in our own kitchens.
Every summer when we visit the Basque country, Eder’s great aunt Mila gives us baby-food jars filled with the most extraordinary paprika from Rioja.
Made by her friend, it is fruitier than pimentón de la Vera, and the smoke is more delicate, which is why the long bus ride to pick it up is more than worth the trip.
When those jars start to run out, we get nervous. They are what make good food great at our house.
One evening, Eder halved an avocado, seasoned it with salt, and dusted it generously with the Riojan paprika. Embellished with a little sweet vinegar made from the Basque white wine vinegar Txakoli and enough olive oil to dissolve the paprika, it was a genius salad with pitch-perfect flavor.
Calculate half an avocado per person, although I guarantee you’ll end up eating both halves if you make it for yourself.