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Guacamole and Margarita Tips from Rick Bayless

January 24, 2013

With the Super Bowl just a week away, it's the perfect time to revisit guacamole. Who better than Rick Bayless to provide advice? The Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/Xoco frontman is out with a new cookbook, Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks (W.W. Norton & Company, $25), and shared seven guacamole-making tips (plus a couple for a better margarita) last month at a demonstration in New York. "This book is really about two master classes, and what I always like to do is to teach people how to make something that is very classic and to really learn the basics of it, so that then they can make it their own," Bayless says. "Once you understand that guacamole isn't following a recipe but understanding a concept of how you put it together, then you can make your own perfect guacamole," he says. "The exact same thing happens when making margaritas, and I think a lot of people are in search of that perfect recipe when really what they need to do is go beyond the recipe to understand how to make it from the ground up." His tips and two recipes after the jump. While guacamole in Mexico is considered a condiment (slurried avocado with a little salt and lime), American-style guacamole has evolved to be an avocado canvas for all kinds of mixed-in ingredients. The classic version of the latter, Bayless said, is avocado seasoned with salt and lime along with anything that would go into a chopped tomato salsa. "Tomato, onion, green chile, cilantro--just those things," he said. "Some people like to add garlic, some people hate the tomato in there, but you're basically in that area, and your proportions are whatever proportions you like." With that as a guide, here are seven Bayless tips for better guacamole: Buy Avocados From a Trusted Source "Buy them at a place that sells a lot of avocados because 1) they will always be ripe there but 2) they will know how to treat them," he says. "When you see people taking big boxes of avocados--and I've seen this at so many grocery stores--and they take the big box of avocados and flip it upside down, those are going to be super bruised. You go to most Mexican markets, and they will actually have beautiful displays, and they'll be very ripe. And they're usually cheaper there. Don't Go Nuts With Lime Juice "A lot of American cooks get really carried away with lime juice because they think that the lime juice is going to keep the guacamole from turning dark, so they just load it up," Bayless says. "Well, there's nothing that will erase the flavor of an avocado faster than lime juice." Use just enough to give your guacamole the acidity it needs. Use a Potato Masher But only for the avocado. It "breaks up the pieces more gently and it will give you a chunky guacamole and to me that's what I'm looking for: that beautiful avocado texture, but still some of it...

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