Shades of verde 

Baked egg in avocado with pepita pesto makes for a healthy and filling breakfast.

I must admit that two of my favorite things in the food world are avocados and breakfast. I could eat the soft, green fruit (yep, it’s a fruit) on just about anything, and even by itself. As for breakfast, it's more than just a meal that can only be eaten at one time of day.

So I’ve been thinking, how can I incorporate avocados into breakfast? Yeah, I could chop one up and put it on top of my eggs, or slather it on toast, but what about using an avocado as the star attraction of my morning meal? Then it came to me. Instead of putting avocado on top of the eggs, why not put the eggs into the avocado? So I baked an egg inside an avocado half. (Think ‘Toad in a Hole’ minus the toast and replaced with an avocado.)

Though I’m nowhere near the first person to attempt this, the recipe I used below is a fresh and jazzed-up way to eat huevos en aguacate.

By itself, the dish is a bit plain, so it definitely needs to be topped with a salsa or sauce. I whipped up a batch of pepita (pumpkin seed) pesto with basil and cilantro, and the culinary marriage was a match made in heaven, with the tangy pesto cutting through the fattiness of the avocado and egg. Finish it off with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or hot sauce and you’re set.

Don’t limit this dish to just a breakfast — it could easily serve as a lunch or dinner main dish as well. It’s very filling, so one half of an avocado and one egg per serving is plenty. Bonus: for you folks with dietary issues or special diets, this recipe is vegetarian, gluten- and nut-free, and perfect for someone following the Paleo Diet.

Baked Egg in Avocado with Pepita Pesto

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1 large avocado

2 eggs

A pinch of salt and pepper

Pepita Pesto (recipe below)

Cayenne pepper or hot sauce (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the avocado. Remove the pit with a chef’s knife by giving it a good whack and twisting it out; remove it from knife with a dishtowel. If the indentation is too small for your eggs, scoop out some of the avocado. Stabilize avocados on a baking tray by creating “nests” out of aluminum foil (so they don’t wobble around).

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, one at a time, and then pour each into the hollows of the avocados. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of salt and pepper, then bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the yolks are cooked to your liking.

Serve topped with Pepita Pesto and a dash of cayenne or hot sauce.

Pepita Pesto

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup basil

1/2 cup cilantro

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup raw or toasted pumpkin seeds

2/3-3/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup water

1 lemon, juiced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Add herbs, pepper flakes and pumpkin seeds into blender or food processor and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2/3 cup olive oil, then drizzle in the water and process until completely smooth. If mixture is too runny, add more olive oil, if it’s too thick, add more water. Add lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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