Healthy and tasty, avocados are a key ingredient in guacamole, but they are also delicious on their own. This simple preparation enhances the distinct nutty flavor and appealingly creamy texture of avocados and makes an easy snack or appetizer. Avocados are shaped like a cross between an oval and a pear. They have either glossy, bumpy, very dark skin or smooth, bright green skin. All have large, smooth, almost perfectly spherical pits. The easiest way to remove the pit and the skin, without wasting any of the delicious flesh, is to cut the avocado in half (cutting around the pit), separate the two halves, and scooping of the flesh.
Stand the avocado up on its wider end on the cutting board. Using your knife, cut straight down into the top of the avocado, where the stem was attached. After cutting about an inch or so, you will feel the pit.
Cut down along one side of the avocado, running the edge of the knife along the pit. Pick up the avocado and continue to cut around the pit by rotating the fruit. The goal is to cut the avocado in half around the pit.
Twist the halves, holding one in each hand. They should come apart easily, leaving the pit on one side.
Dislodge and pop out the pit with a spoon. Discard the pit.
Pick up one half of the avocado and slice vertical lines into the flesh, about 1 centimeter apart. You want to cut through all of the flesh, but not the skin. Then slice across the lines, creating a cross-hatch pattern. Cut the other half the same way.
Place the avocados cut side up on a plate, like boats. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Scoop out the square chunks with a spoon to eat.
An avocado is ripe when it is just slightly soft. Unripe avocados are rock-hard, and overly ripe avocados are too mushy to be eaten this way—use them for guacamole instead.
Be careful to hold the avocado very steadily when making the first cut, and to not slice through the skin when cross-hatching the inside.