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Valentine’s, part one: Mediterranean baked avocado

You can feel the love for avocados the world over. Their benefits for hair, skin, eyes, nails and general all-round human brilliance and beauty are staggering. They’re potent aphrodisiacs too… what better way to start a Valentine’s feast?

Buying these ‘alligator pears’ can be problematic. They’ve often rock hard or past it; neither ripe nor ready. When you want avocado and you WANT IT NOW, try baking them.

Here, we’ve topped them with Italian pizza classics for the melt factor – the perfect, hands-on starter for two.

Pesto and mozzarella baked avocado Valentine’s starter

  • 2 avocados, halved, peeled and stoned
  • half a ball of mozzarella
  • 100ml good tomato sauce
For the pesto: 
  • 2 tbsp blanched almonds
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 100ml olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ 350F /Gas 4
  2. Whiz up all the pesto ingredients, seasoning generously
  3. Spoon the tomato sauce into a small, ovenproof dish
  4. Place the avocado halves on top, along with the mozzarella and pesto
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling
  6. Leave to cool slightly before serving
  7. Enjoy!