For my third and final immersion in the world of authentic Creole cuisine, I decided to kick it up a notch!
Just like cod fritters I prepared last week, there is an appetizer that you will find on all Creole tables. It is called feroce d’avocat.
So today, I am sharing this simple, quick, and above all very authentic recipe, which is also called Antillais guacamole.
Feroce d’avocat is a specialty from the French Antilles that is based on salted cod, avocado and cassava.
Cod, grilled or poached, is incorporated to a mixture of avocado, chives, parsley and garlic and all of this spiced up with Caribbean hot pepper, also called habañero.
Let’s talk about chili peppers…
Why feroce? The term feroce (fierce in French) refers to the strength of the Caribbean chili pepper preparation in the feroce d’avocat, fierceness to be adjusted according to individual taste buds.
Similarly to earthquakes and their Richter scale, chili peppers have also had their own scale since 1912. The scale was created by American pharmacologist Wilbur Scoville who fed his guinea pigs with pure chili puree diluted with sugar water. Since then, the scale has been called the Scoville scale.
Why is chili feroce (fierce)?
This feeling of spiciness on your tastebuds is due to one active component called capsaicin. This substance is present in large quantities in the seeds of chili peppers, but also in all the fruit and the ribs. Its concentration determines the spiciness of the chili peppers.
The pepper used in feroce d’avocat is habañero, certainly not the spiciest in the world although it is in the top 10. The spiciest chili pepper, Jolokia, is grown in India and has been recognized as such by the Guinness Book since 2006.
I suggest that you use gloves to handle habañero. This pepper is so spicy that merely touching it can cause your hands to burn.
The Scoville scale, which gives the force of a chili goes from 0 (neutral) to 10 (explosive). Habañero is categorized as burning.
I have a feeling that I am terrorizing you with all this talk about chili heat! Having the mouth on fire is not dangerous, it’s just unpleasant sometimes. But again, it depends on your capacity to take the heat!
Just a tip, no need to rinse your mouth with water: capsaicin is insoluble in this liquid. However, it dissolves in fat. One remedy is to ingest a fatty substance or a basic substance casein. Milk remains the most effective substance, but ice cream or cheese are just as effective.
As a fat product, avocado is a very good complement to chili pepper since it is fat. Long considered a luxury product in Europe, avocado had a different reputation on the American continent, where it was dubbed poor man’s butter for a while.
I’ve got the balls to share with you the origin of the word avocado!
Did you know it ? The word avocado comes from the word of Nahuatl Indian origin (Aztec) ahuacatl which means… testicle. It is thought that this would be in reference to the shape of the avocado or because the Aztecs considered avocado to have aphrodisiac qualities.
Since the birth of 196 flavors, this was only the second time I used avocado in one of my recipes. The first time was for Honduran baleadas. Mike, on the other hand, has offers us a whole range of great recipes with avocado, including from Swaziland, Mexico and even California. He even went to Guinea for a recipe that also combined avocado with fish (tuna).
As for cassava flour, it was actually the second time I cooked it with cod. My first attemps was for my stop in Antigua and Barbuda but it did not really satisfy my taste buds. This was not the case with feroce d’avocat that I may have found indeed explosive but simply delicious !
- ½ lb salt cod , desalted
- 1 large ripe avocado (about 1 lb or 2 medium avocados)
- ½ lb tapioca flour (cassava flour)
- 3 scallions
- 2 West Indian chili peppers (habañero peppers)
- 3 cloves garlic , crushed
- ½ bunch parsley
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Juice of 1 lime
In a pot, cover the cod with water and bring to boil.
Remove the cod and drain immediately.
Cut avocado in half, remove the flesh and cut into large pieces.
Drizzle the avocado flesh with lime juice to prevent from blackening.
Place parsley in the bowl of a food processor and chop finely.
Then add the avocado, cod, garlic, a small piece of chili and chives. Mix.
Add cassava flour and oil while mixing until mixture is homogeneous.
Add salt and pepper
Refrigerate for one hour before serving.