This dish offers a wonderful variety of tastes and textures—it's sweet, salty, creamy, crisp, juicy. The mashed avocado can be served on a platter surrounded by the marinated lily bulbs and the chips. Or the avocado can be served atop the lotus chips and garnished with the salad as an hors d'oeuvre. A mandoline makes easy work of slicing the lotus root thinly.
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Corn oil, for frying
One 1/2 -pound firm lotus root, peeled and very thinly sliced crosswise (see Note)
1/2 pound fresh lily bulbs (see Note), layers separated and cut into fine julienne, or jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely diced tomato
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
Dash of Tabasco
Freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 inch of oil to 350°. Fry the lotus root slices, 4 or 5 at a time, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all of the slices have been fried.
In a bowl, toss the lily bulbs with 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the vinegar and oil. Season with salt and refrigerate.
Scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and mash with a fork to a chunky puree. Stir in the scallions, diced tomato, cilantro and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mashed avocado onto a serving platter and surround with the marinated lily bulbs. Serve the lotus chips in a basket on the side, for dipping.
Fresh lotus roots and lily bulbs are available at Asian markets. Be sure to buy firm, unblemished roots and bulbs.
Start the meal with a sparkling Prosecco, on its own or mixed with a couple of tablespoons of freshly squeezed blood orange juice.
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