I’m generally an guacamole purist. Or really, an avocado purist: pass me a few slices of ripe avocado, a sprinkle of salt and a crispy tortilla, and I am perfectly happy. But when Roberto Santibañez’s PR team passed me a recipe for grape guac a few weeks ago -- smooth and crunchy, it promised; spicy and cool at the same time -- I thought, oh hell, why not. The thing is, this summer was hot in New York. Like sweaty Texas hot. Sit-on-the-air-conditioner hot. Now the temps have cooled off, but when it was hot, all I could think about was cold things. Like grapes straight from the refrigerator. The grapes in this dish, thankfully, don't overshadow the avocado at all. They actually add a light fruitiness and a toothsome texture that I didn't know could exist in guacamole. You really get all the flavors in one here: sweet, salty, acidic, spicy. I baked up some corn tortilla chips (my usual way is to cut tortillas into triangles with kitchen shears, then bake them at around 400F until golden brown) and munched happily through the afternoon. Recipe below, while you can still find grapes at the stores. Also, if anyone’s wondering, I’ve found fantastic Mexican avocados at bodegas in Queens. Grape Guacamole Adapted slightly from Roberto Santibañez’s recipe Serves at least four as an appetizer Note: I've listed two types of grapes here because that's what the original recipe called for, but I don't see any particular reason to use two. You'd still get the sweetness and texture with just one variety. The original recipe also called for 3 avocados, but since I was only feeding Crayton and me, I scaled down. I also made this in the molcajete, which allows you to create a paste out of the onion/chile mixture. Sort of like this: If you plan to mix yours with a good old-fashioned bowl and spoon, I'd make sure to finely chop the onion and jalapeño, so you don't have any big onion or chile parts sticking out. Ingredients 2 tablespoons chopped white onion 1/3 of a large jalapeño, with seeds, chopped roughly (you can also use serrano) 2 ripe
HaasHass avocados 10 large red grapes, cut into quarters 1/3 cup small green grapes 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a smidge more (if using table salt, start with less) juice of 1/2 large lime (or to taste) Directions In a molcajete, if you're using one, add the chopped onion, jalapeño, and just a pinch or two of salt. Grind into a paste. (Alternately, you can mix the items in a regular mixing bowl.) Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, then cut each half into cubes. Add to chile-onion paste and mix. You can use the back of a spoon or the pestle (tejolete) from your molcajete to crush some of the cubes a bit, just so it doesn't look so uniform and perfect. Stir in the grapes, reserving some for the garnish if you like. Taste and add lime juice, and more salt as needed. Serve with chips, tortillas, or whatever you want.
I've always wanted to be an expert at making guacamole. In my deep-seeded dreams for myself, I am that woman who throws a lovely, Mexican-food dinner party, featuring a simple batch of guacamole that blows everyone's minds. I could not make this dream come true, though, because I was too scared to make any. When I lived in Texas, I was on this guacamole high horse and didn't want to use a recipe. So twice I made batches that were actually bad -- one had too much lime juice; the other, too much onion. In Mexico City, I started making a kind of fast-food version of guac that combined avocados and Herdez salsa verde. It's actually pretty good, but I felt a little ashamed to serve fast-food guac with something like homemade hibiscus-flower quesadillas. Then about a month ago, I took a class on how to prepare salsas. We learned that the base of all guac is a pico de gallo -- the combo of onion, cilantro, tomato and serrano chiles. You grind these things together in the molcajete and then add avocados. Top the whole thing with a few squirts of lime juice. That's it. Doneskis. I still didn't have enough confidence to try it on my own, however, until I spent two hours seasoning my metate. Using just my two hands and a grinding stone, I had turned dried corn and beans into dust. Making guacamole? Pffft. That's puny work. About three weeks ago, with absolutely no nervousness at all, I used the ratios from my cooking class and whipped up a batch to accompany some quesadillas. The result was the best guacamole I'd ever made: buttery and creamy and evenly balanced, with a tang from the tomatoes. And I had made the entire thing myself. No Herdez. I've since this a few more times, including at a party attended by some French tourists. They kept coming up to me and saying, "This is so good!" It was not exactly my dinner-party vision come to life, but close enough. I felt really proud. Recipe below. ...