Avocado provides a rich, creamy, nutrient-filled based for this easy and satisfying salad dressing. I like to make it in the salad bowl I'm going to toss the eventual salad in for minimal clean-up, but it stores for a few days in a well-sealed jar or covered ramekin, if you want to make it ahead.
The ground cumin adds an earthy balance to the rich avocado and bright lime juice, but if you're not a fan of cumin, feel free to leave it out.
It's perfect on romaine lettuce, other super crisp greens, or even on cabbage in more of a slaw situation, since it is physically heavy. It's rich flavor also stands up nicely to pungent additions like slivered red onion, or super crispy, crunchy vegetables like radishes and fennel. A crumble of cotija cheese is a nice addition when using this dressing, too.
- Peel and mince the garlic or shallot. Put it in a large salad bowl and add the lime juice.
- Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, cutting into the avocado until you hit the pit, and cut around, not going through the pit. Twist the two halves to pop the avocado apart. Scoop out the flesh from one side into a large salad bowl. If it's a large avocado, tightly wrap up with other half, with the pit still in it, and reserve it for another use. If it's a small or medium avocado, remove the pit from the second half, and scoop that flesh into the bowl, too.
- Mash the avocado until as smooth as possible; I find a fork is the best tool for this. Add the oil and work that in, too.
- Stir in the ground cumin. Add salt to taste (don't hold back here, avocado shines best when properly seasoned).
* If you want some really amazing flavor, grind your own cumin seeds, toasting them first: put about 1 teaspoon cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring or shaking frequently, until the cumin smells nice and toasty. Transfer the cumin to a plate or other vessel where the seeds can cool in more or less a single layer so they cool off quickly and don't keep toasting too much. Grind in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or clean coffee grinder.