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California Avocado Season Has Arrived, Bringing Delicious Hand Grown Fruit to the Market

Renowned chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger help kick off the season with an enticing Avocado Recipe

Recipe below
Irvine, Calif. (April 4, 2008) –
California avocado season has arrived, bringing fresh California avocados to grocery stores and kitchen tables throughout the country. Ninety percent of the nation’s avocado crop is grown in California by more than 6,000 farmers who take a hand-grown approach. April through September marks the California avocado season, which means that now is the perfect time to enjoy this premium fruit at its freshest.        

Renowned chefs and restaurateurs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, known together as the “Too Hot Tamales,” are passionate about California avocados. They have teamed up with the California Avocado Commission to create a signature recipe that utilizes fresh ingredients of the season and highlights the California avocado’s flavor and versatility. 

“Fresh California avocados play such an important role in many of our favorite recipes,” said chef Feniger.  “Avocados are big in Latin cooking, but their adaptability and rich, nutty flavor takes them beyond just the Latin kitchen. They are the perfect complement to dozens of hot and cold dishes, including soups, sandwiches and salads, and even pasta,” said chef Milliken.

California-grown avocados are widely acknowledged to be exceptionally creamy and delicious, but they offer more than delectable flavor to one's diet. In fact, one-fifth of a medium avocado (about 1 oz.) has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 beneficial nutrients to the diet.

Milliken and Feniger have a hip, bold cooking style that has guided the signature tastes at their critically acclaimed Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev., as well as at Ciudad in Los Angeles.  Their original recipe, Tequila-Spiked Fettuccine with Shrimp and California Avocado, is the perfect way to enjoy the bounty of the season. Combining California avocados with fettuccine is delightfully unexpected, and highlights the versatility of this luscious fruit. 


Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


    • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, cored
    • 1/2 lb. fettuccine
    • Salt, for pasta water
    • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for pasta
    • 1 lb. medium domestic shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tsp. minced garlic
    • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 1/4 cup silver tequila
    • 2 ripe, fresh California avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
    • 1 bunch basil, cut into thin strips
    • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.



1. Puree the whole tomatoes in a blender until smooth, adding a small amount of water, if necessary. Reserve. 

2. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and salt to the pot. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and sauté the shrimp for 1 minute on each side. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.

4. Remove skillet from heat and add the diced tomatoes and tequila. Return skillet to heat and continue to sauté for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (Be careful as pan might flame.) 

5. Stir in half the diced avocado and half the basil. Transfer shrimp mixture to a platter using a slotted spoon, leaving liquid in the skillet. 

6. Add the reserved tomato puree to the skillet, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until the mixture is reduced by about one-third. Add the butter, stirring until it is melted. Then, add the remaining diced avocado and basil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Toss finished sauce with cooked pasta until thoroughly combined.  

7. To serve, divide pasta mixture onto individual entrée plates or into shallow pasta bowls. Top with shrimp mixture and serve immediately. 


    Per serving: 513 calories; 26 grams fat (6 grams saturated, 14 mono, 3 poly); 181 mg cholesterol; 976 mg sodium; 48.5 grams carbohydrate; 6 grams fiber; 28 grams protein

Recipe created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger for the California Avocado Commission.  copyright © 2008, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.

About the California Avocado Commission
Based in Irvine, California, the California Avocado Commission was created in 1978 to develop markets for and increase consumption of California avocados on behalf of the state's 6,000 avocado growers.  The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry.
For other recipes that feature fresh California avocados, including additional original recipes developed by chefs Milliken and Feniger, visit the California Avocado Commission Web site at




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