Have you met Donnie and Gwen? How about MacArthur or Pinkerton? No, we’re not talking about celebrities, World War II generals, or detectives—we’re referring to avocados. As we discovered while creating Know Your Avocados for our current issue, there are hundreds of different kinds, and though most Americans know only the ubiquitous hass, we found eight other types that deserve a try.

But whatever the variety, savvy chefs have known for years that avocados lend a creaminess and delicate flavor that nicely balances with other ingredients in a variety of dishes. From the buttery taste that pairs perfectly with fresh seafood in our Maine Lobster Napoleon with Mango Vinaigrette to the velvety softness that mellows the tangy bite of tomato and jicama in our Grilled Softshell Crab with Jicama Salad and Tomato-Avocado Salsa, this ungainly green fruit has the ability to add an unexpected depth and complexity to a variety of dishes. Of course, avocados are perfectly comfortable taking center stage—one bite of the definitive Step-by-Step Guacamole recipe, and you’ll understand why.

For the full scoop on this rich, lovely fruit, pick up the August/September issue of SAVEUR, on newsstands now. For more recipes, visit New Recipes, or simply enter “avocado” in the site search.