Paris used to be a hostile place for vegetarians – let alone vegans. Outside of a handful of vegetarian restaurants, waiters and chefs had no idea what plant-based eating was about. Restaurant menus were devoid of meat-free options, and vegetarians had to settle for a hodgepodge of sides or a bowl of soup. The Paris food scene experienced a historic shift toward vegetables around the turn of the 21st century. Chef Alain Passard led the charge with a disruptive all-vegetable menu served at his three-star restaurant. It is now common to find inspired vegetarian courses at contemporary bistros, and the city is peppered with restaurants devoted to plant-based dining, the kind where you can take your omnivore friends and not have them notice the absence of meat. Chief among them is gastro-vegan restaurant Le Potager de Charlotte, where a signature appetiser is the avocat façon oeuf mimosa, a “devilled egg” avocado with turmeric-yellow hummus taking the place of the mashed yolk, and toasted squash seeds for crunch. I serve a bunch of them on a platter, with spoons for eating, for brunch; they look so appetising and are always the first item to disappear.
- 1 15 oz/400g can or jar chickpeas, rinsed and drained (see Note)
- 2 teaspoons tahini
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 avocados 6 oz/170g each, halved and pitted
- 1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
- Fleur de sel for serving
- ½ cup 115g squash seeds, toasted
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- In a food processor, process the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, lemon juice, oil, and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. Add a little more water, tablespoon by tablespoon, as needed until creamy but still scoopable. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed.
- Scoop 2 rounded tablespoons of hummus into each avocado ‘hole’, as for devilled eggs.
- Arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the paprika, fleur de sel, squash seeds, and chives.
First printed in our sister publication France Today.
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