I’ve seen lots of tips for pitting and slicing avocados, and up until recently, I was a devotee of this method, “Hold halved avocado in your hand, take aim with a huge knife and hope you hit the pit hard enough that it sticks and doesn’t glance off and go into your fingers but not so hard the front tip of the blade goes through the top and into first knuckle. Twist your knife to dislodge the pit, then bite off the little morsel of flesh still attached to the pit. Realize you have a giant knife up to your face because you couldn’t let that little piece go to waste and hope no one saw that lunacy. Scoop out avocado meat, then use one of the empty skins to try and pry the pit off your knife because you thwacked it too hard. Realize the total lack of grip and potential for injury, and instead bang the tang of your knife on the edge of the kitchen trash can to send the pit flying into the garbage or ricocheting off the wall and behind the stove. Put your knife in the sink, wash the avocado off of your hands, and get out another knife, because you just realized you did something gross to a tool you were using with food.”
The safer, cleaner method I think I may have come up with (since I discovered it by mistake and not on a food blog) starts out the same way but ends with fewer bandages and cleaner slices. One very important requirement for this method is that the avocado needs to be nice and ripe. If the meat around the pit is not soft, the pit will not come out. Optional, but very helpful, is a bird’s beak paring knife, which has a curved blade. Meant for peeling, since it hugs round fruit and potatoes so nicely, it is also terrific for making vegetable garnishes, fluting mushrooms (although I wouldn’t know because I’d rather have slightly more mushroom which looks boring than less mushroom which looks pretty.) and creating perfect Hasselback potatoes. I use it for something or other 2-3 times a week. You can find them online for about $10. Mine (pictured above) is from Le’Econome.
On to the ‘How To’!
Run your knife around the middle of the avocado lengthwise until you have two halves that can be twisted apart. Using your paring knife, slice the avocado meat of the pit-less half, being sure not to cut through the skin. Pick up the half with the pit and slice the same way on either side of the pit. On the middle portion, score lines on the top and bottom of the pit (not cutting through the skin) moving your blade slightly under the pit, then flip the blade side up and slide it gently into each score line so that the blade is running along the underside of the pit. Do the same from the other end to connect each slice. Time to put down the knife!
To remove the pit, gently push the long ends of the avocado together to fan out the slices slightly and pop the pit out. (The pit in the picture above had not yet been taken out but you can see it is loosened from the meat. You may have to cut the interior slices slightly to connect them completely. Run a large spoon all around the inside of each half to loosen slices from skin and invert on a plate or the top of the dish you are garnishing.