What is palta reina?
Palta reina is a typical Chilean starter made from avocado, a very popular fruit in Latin America.
This appetizer is one of Chilean favorites because it is particularly fresh but also very tasty. Palta reina literally means “queen of the avocado”. This starter is associated with the country’s classic cuisine. Everyone brings their personal touch by sublimating the avocado as they see fit.
How to make palta reina?
Avocado is a fruit that oxidizes very quickly when in contact with air. To delay this process, rub it with the juice of a lemon immediately after slicing it. Lemon juice can be replaced by ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) diluted in water. In the case of mashed avocado such as guacamole for example, just keep the avocado cores in the same bowl to prevent the avocado from turning black. In any case, it is best to cut the avocado at the last moment, because its vitamins disintegrate quickly in the air.
To choose a ripe avocado, you have to rely on its color and firmness. The avocado should not be too green because it is a sign that it should not be consumed yet. As soon as the color darkens and the avocado is softer at the base, it means that the avocado is ready to be consumed. Too black and too soft, it will already be too ripe. To help it ripen faster, you can put it in a paper bag.
Chicken thighs should be baked until tender. The meat is then minced and mixed with mayonnaise and red bell pepper, that is already roasted and peeled. This preparation is placed in a half peeled avocado instead of the core, it is decorated with a black olive and it is ready to be consumed with a fresh green salad.
What is the origin of avocado?
The avocado comes from the Spanish word aguacate, derived from ahuacatl in the Nahuatl language which means “testicle”, because of the shape of the fruit. Today, Chile is the world’s 9th largest avocado producer with 3.1% of total production (compared with 30% for Mexico, making it the largest producer in the world). Although avocado has been consumed in Mexico since the Aztec and Mayan eras 10,000 years ago, it only made it to European cuisine in the twentieth century. At the end of the 19th century, it remained a rare fruit reserved for large tables. At the Belle Epoque, Auguste Escoffier created a sensation with his avocados and prawns à la diable (with a mayonnaise with Cayenne pepper).
What are the health benefits of avocado?
Avocado is a very nutritious food with a moderate calorie intake. The consumption of avocados has a beneficial effect on cholesterol. It is also low in carbohydrates compared to other fresh fruits with an average of 2 g per 100 g vs. 10 g for other fruits. For this appetizer to remain healthy, you should not use too much mayonnaise, which is very caloric. Avocado is a high-fiber food. It is a source of vitamin K, which protects the cardiovascular system and stimulates intestinal transit. According to nutritionists, you should not consume more than one avocado per week per person because it remains a high calorie food even if its lipids contain “good fat”.
The massive export of avocado to Europe, however, has disastrous ecological side effects. The water and carbon footprints are considerable. You need 1000 liters of water to grow a single kilo of avocados. Not to mention the massive deforestation needed to meet the demand. The consumption of avocados in Europe has almost doubled in the last 10 years.
What are the variants of palta reina?
The stuffed avocado is very popular, and you can replace the chicken with shrimp, tuna, crab or corn. Avocado and fat always blend very well in terms of flavors. It is why it is usually found with melted cheese, eggs or mayonnaise. It is a fruit that is also delicious for dessert.
- 3 large avocados (ripe but firm)
- 3 chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 canned roasted red bell pepper , drained and finely chopped
- 6 black olives
- 1 lemon , squeezed
- A few leaves lettuce , chopped, and seasoned with vinaigrette
- Black pepper
Peel the avocados and cut them lengthwise to obtain 2 equal halves.
Then remove the core. Sprinkle with lemon juice and season with salt. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 460 F.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Then bake for about 20 minutes.
Once cooked, cut the chicken into small pieces. Mix with the red bell pepper and half of the mayonnaise.
Fill each avocado half with the rest of the mayonnaise, a strip of fresh red bell pepper and an olive cut in half.
In a dish, arrange each avocado on a bed of shredded lettuce leaves.