Avocado Ranch Dip

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

If you follow me on Instagram, you could probably tell that we’ve had a steady stream of visitors in town.  The weather’s been as close to perfect as weather can be, so it’s been sort of a non-stop sunset viewing, beach loitering, fresh seafood eating party (my favorite kind).

Whenever we have people coming to stay at the house, I always try to have some things on hand that make for a quick bite to eat between outings.  Things like homemade salsa, tzatziki, good cheeses, crackers, and olives always come in handy.  And, versatility is key.  Homemade tzatziki is great just with pita or pretzel chips as a snack, but it also makes a delicious sauce for grilled salmon if we pick that up to cook for a fast dinner.

This time, I decided to make an avocado ranch dip so that we had it around to serve with fresh veggies.  But, it also doubled as a sauce the night we made crab cakes.  Not a traditional remoulade, but it tasted great all the same!

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

Avocado Ranch Dip
 
Author:
Makes: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 1 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, process the garlic, scallions, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper until they are pureed.
  2. Add the avocado, mayonnaise, yogurt, and buttermilk. Puree until smooth.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Coconut Tilapia & Avocado Lime Dipping Sauce

coconut tilapia with avocado lime dipping sauce

coconut tilapia with avocado lime dipping sauceI promised you Key West-inspired food, so here goes!

This is a lightened-up version of the (multiple) pounds of juicy, pink fried coconut shrimp we ate in Key West.  They were divine, of course, but this baked fish is a lighter way to enjoy the same flavors.  I paired it with a take on an avocado-cilantro sauce we had with calamari one night for dinner.  Again, it’s (a little bit?) lighter, with the reduced-fat sour cream, but still very flavorful.

Two things: (1) This is (obviously) great with shrimp, too.  I’ve made shrimp, tilapia, and even grouper with this breading, and it’s all great.  Any flaky white fish will work.  (2) I went light on the cilantro in this sauce.  I’m still working on my love-hate relationship with cilantro.  I’m getting there, slowly but surely.  If you prefer more, throw caution to the wind, friend!

coconut tilapia and avocado lime sauce

Coconut Tilapia & Avocado Lime Dipping Sauce
 
Author:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. tilapia filets
  • 1 cup seasoned panko crumbs
  • ⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 ripe Haas avocado, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ⅓ cup light sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. minced cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut tilapia filets into 2” x 2” chunks. Pat them dry with paper towels.
  3. Place panko crumbs and sweetened coconut in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. In a second bowl, crack both eggs and beat lightly with a fork. Place flour into a third, small bowl.
  4. Dip tilapia pieces into the flour and shake off the excess. Dip pieces into egg and then into the combined panko and coconut mixture. Place tilapia pieces onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle the pieces lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil so that they brown nicely in the oven. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the outside is golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the dipping sauce, place the diced avocado, lime juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, and cilantro into a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Process until combined. Serve alongside the baked tilapia pieces.