RECIPE TITLE "Classic Guacamole"
Recipe from Mexico: One Plate at a Time Copyright © 2000 by Rick Bayless
... more great recipes by Rick Bayless on our GREAT CHEFS page!
6 as an appetizer, 8 to 10 as a nibble---
Was there ever a fruit as sensual as an avocado? So rough-hewn, dare-to-touch-me masculine on the outside, so yielding, inviting, soft spring green and feminine inside? Writers have proclaimed that the avocado, tomato and chile are among Mexico's gifts to the world. And they name guacamole, where all three come together, as a perfect work of art.
It's no wonder that this perfect fruit begs to be mashed to enhance its melting, naturally spreadable quality. Early Spanish settlers called guacamole "the butter of the poor." The Aztecs recognized its possibilities when they coined the word "guacamole": "guaca" for avocado and "mole" for sauce.
Mashed avocado invites you to add flavors — think flavored butters here. Yet, considering how perfect it is in itself, the challenge is to exercise restraint. There are Mexican purists who stop at a sprinkle of salt on their avocado mash and call that guacamole. But I think you can employ a little creativity, setting some limits: no mayonnaise or sour cream. Avocado flesh by itself has an unctuous quality and subtle flavor — no need to dilute it. As for the add-ins, these flavor pinpoints seem more welcome when the guacamole is intended for chips. On the Mexican side of the border, guacamole's role is more as a salsa, something you spread on a taco. A smooth version blended with tomatillos can be a delicious drizzle over practically anything edible.
The second recipe here, the contemporary one, produces guacamole that is boosted with roasted poblanos, roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic. Roasting heightens sweetness, yielding a deeper-flavored guacamole. Though thiscontemporary version is good in and of itself, it is a perfect sauce for salmon steaks or grilled chicken. Whether you choose traditional or contemporary, feel free to pare these recipes down or add to them. They're yours to make your own.
Traditional benchmark: In my opinion, the best guacamole is a simple one — one that glamorizes the flavor of really delicious avocados, plain and simple. That starts with hand-mashing thoroughly ripe avocados to a chunky-smooth texture, then underscoring the avocado's natural richness with a little tang from lime juice, perhaps a little perfumy cilantro, maybe some crunchy onion and a hint of hot green chile. And tomato, too, might go in to boost the flavors with sweetness — though that's not always necessary.
When to think of these recipes: Guacamole is tremendously versatile. It almost defines the phrase "casual party food," but it's so simple to make that there's nothing to keep you from whipping up a batch for Wednesday night dinner, to spoon, say, onto a simple soft taco or over grilled chicken or fish. Guacamole in a warm corn tortilla is a favorite (if not totally balanced) lunch of mine.
Advice for American cooks: Decent avocados are quite readily available, but they're not always ripe. You may have to buy them a few days before you need them to ensure that they'll be soft-ripe.
| Classic Guacamole - Guacamole Clásico
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (about 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño),
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup),
plus a little extra for garnish
6 ounces (1 medium round or 2 plum) tomatoes (you want
these ripe, though absolute red ripeness isn't as important
here as it is, say, for chopped tomato salsa)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus a little extra
3 medium-large (about 1 1/4 pounds total) ripe avocados
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
A few slices of radish for garnish (optional)
1. Roasting the chiles. Lay the chiles in a small ungreased skillet
set over medium heat. Turn them every minute or so until they have
softened (they'll darken in spots), 5 to 10 minutes. Mash them into
a coarse puree, using a mortar, or finely chop them. Place in a
2. More flavorings. Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and
rinse under cold water; shake off excess water and add to the bowl
with the chiles. Chop the tomatoes into small bits skin,
seeds and all is my preference. You should have a scant cup. Add
to the bowl along with the cilantro.
3. The avocados. To cut an avocado in half, you have to negotiate
the large egg-shaped pit in the middle. Make a cut down the length
of 1 avocado straight through to the pit. Continue cutting all the
way around the pit until you wind up where you started. Twist the
two halves in opposite directions and pull them apart. Scoop out
the pit (the hueso, or bone, in Spanish) with a spoon. Then scoop
out the avocado flesh from the skin and add to the bowl. Do the
same with the remaining avocados. Use an old-fashioned potato masher
or the back of a large spoon to mash the avocado flesh into a coarse
pulp, mixing in the other ingredients as you go.
4. Seasoning the guacamole. Taste the guacamole and season with
salt, usually a scant teaspoon, then add some of the lime juice
and taste again. Continue seasoning with lime until the guacamole
has enough zip for you. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly
on the surface, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
5. Serving. Unless you're serving guacamole dolloped on tacos or
the like, the classic way to present it to your guests is in a Mexican
lava-rock mortar (molcajete), sprinkled with chopped onion and cilantro.
Sliced radish, if you have it, looks pretty here, and to the Mexican
eye completes the very popular, patriotic red-white-and-green motif.
Working Ahead: Guacamole is good when freshly made, but, in my
opinion, it tastes even better when the flavors are allowed to mingle
for about half an hour before serving. If well chilled, it'll keep
for several hours. After that, the flavors get out of balance and
the avocado starts to turn brown.
|Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant flavors of a World-Class Cuisine
BURSTING WITH BOLD, COMPLEX FLAVORS, Mexican cooking has the kind of gusto we want in food today. Until now, American home cooks have had few authorities to translate the heart of this world-class cuisine to everyday cooking.
In this book of more than 150 recipes, award-winning chef, author and teacher Rick bayless provides the inspiration and guidance that home cooks have needed. With a blend of passion, patience, clarity and humor, he unerringly finds his way into the very soul of Mexican cuisine, from essential recipes and explorations of Mexico's many chiles to quick-to-prepare everyday dishes and pull-out-the-stops celebration fare.
Bayless begins the journey by introducing us to the building blocks of Mexican cooking. With infectious enthusiasm and an entertaining voice, he outlines 16 essential preparations-deeply flavored tomato sauces and tangy tomatillo salsas, rich chile pastes and indispensable handmade tortillas.
Fascinating cultural background and practical cooking tips help readers to understand these preparations and make them their own. Each recipe explains which steps can be completed in advance to make final preparation easier, and each provides a list of the dishes in later chapters that are built around these basics. And with each essential recipe, Bayless includes several "Simple Ideas from My American Home"-quick, familiar recipes with innovative Mexican accents, such as Baked Ham with Yucatecan Flavors, Spicy Chicken Salad, Ancho-Broiled Salmon and Very, Very Good Chili.
Throughout, the intrepid Bayless brings chiles into focus, revealing that Mexican cooks use these pods for flavor, richness, color and, yes, sometimes for heat. He details the simple techniques for getting the best out of every chile-from the rich, smoky chipotle to the incendiary but fruity habanero.
Then, in more than 135 recipes that follow, Bayless guides us through a wide range of richly flavored regional Mexican dishes, combining down-home appeal and convivial informality with simple culinary elegance. It's all here: starters like Classic Seviche Tostadas or Chorizo-Stuffed Ancho Chiles; soups like Slow-Simmered Fava Bean Soup or Rustic Ranch-Style Soup; casual tortilla-based preparations like Achiote-Roasted Pork Tacos or Street-Style Red Chile Enchiladas; vegetable delights like Smoky Braised Mexican Pumpkin, or Green Poblano Rice; even a whole chapter on classic fiesta food (from Oaxacan Black Mole with Braised Chicken, Smoky Peanut Mole with Grilled Quail and Great Big Tamal Roll with Chard with the incomparable Juchitan-Style Black Bean Tamales); and ending with a selection of luscious desserts like Modern Mexican Chocolate Flan with KahIua and Yucatecan-Style Fresh Coconut Pie. To quickly expand your Mexican repertoire even further, each of these recipes is accompanied by suggestions for variations and improvisations.
There is no greater authority on Mexican cooking than Rick Bayless, and no one can teach it better. In his skillful hands, the wonderful flavors of Mexico will enter your kitchen and your daily cooking routine without losing any of their depth or timeless appeal. More info
| Mexico One Plate At A Time
Rick Bayless has been acclaimed widely as America's foremost proponent of Mexico's thrillingly diverse cuisine. In this companion book to his 26-part Public Television series, he takes us, with boyish enthusiasm, through Mexican markets, street stalls and home kitchens to bring us the great dishes of Mexico, one "plate" at a time. And each "plate" Rick presents here is a Mexican classic. Take guacamole, for instance. After teaching us the essentials for a perfect, classic guacamole, Rick shows how to spin contemporary interpretations, like his Roasted Poblano Guacamole with garlic and parsley. Rick's cuisine is always lively, but rooted in strong traditions.
Always the teacher, Rick begins each "plate" with some never-before-found features: traditional benchmarks (Rick's idea of the best guacamole), when to think of the recipes (weeknight dinners or casual party food), and advice for American cooks (Rick's insight into the ingredients that make the dish). He rounds out each "plate" with suggestions for working ahead.
To complete the journey into the Mexican mindset, Rick, with help from his testers, ends each "plate" with a question-and-answer section detailing just about everything a home cook might want to know: What are the best cuts of beef for grilled tacos? The best cheeses for quesadillas? Is one grill better than another? Rick draws from his years of living in Mexico, pulling us into the Mexican kitchen, to teach us how to create authentic Mexican dishes in our American kitchens.
Rick is an Indiana Jones of the stove, a Julia Child of Mexican cuisine in black jeans and a T-shirt. Rick's goal: to enable folks all across the United States to create dishes that weave in the rich tapestry of Mexican flavor with ingredients that are widely available. He always provides ingredients that make the dish authentic, but he also delivers with the right substitute if an ingredient is hard to find.
Experience food you can't wait to make in a new and user-friendly cookbook that contains the full range of dishes -- Starters, Snacks and Light Meals; Soups, Stews and Sides; Entrées; Desserts and Drinks. Rick serves up such classic Mexican plates as Tomatillo-Braised Pork Loin, Quick-Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic, Chiles Rellenos, Cheesy Enchiladas Suizas, and Mexican Vanilla-Scented Flan.
And for an exciting taste of the unexpected, try Rick's contemporary interpretations of the classics -- Crispy Potato Sopes with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs, Grilled Salmon with Lemon-and-Thyme-Scented Salsa Veracruzana, Broiled Flank Steak with Tomato-Poblano Salsa and Rustic Cajeta Apple Tarts with Berry "Salsa."
Food and friends, food and family. Good cooking, for Rick, is the unspoken animator of friends and family as they gather to share a meal. Rick's recipes lend themselves to weeknight family meals or celebrations. Take part in a tamalada, the tamal-making party before the party, or the ritual of a barbacoa, an earthy experience that Rick has made possible with a kettle grill in the backyard. More info
|Mexican Everyday (Recipes Featured on Season 4 of the PBS-TV series In his previous books, Rick Bayless transformed America's understanding of Mexican cuisine, introducing authentic dishes and cooking methods as he walked readers through Mexican markets and street stalls.
As much as Rick loves the bold flavors of Mexican foods, he understands that preparing many Mexican specialties requires more time than most of us have. Mexican Everyday is written with the time sensitivities of modern life in mind. It is a collection of 90 full-flavored recipes—like Green Chile Chicken Tacos, Shrimp Ceviche Salad, Chipotle Steak with Black Beans—that meet three criteria for "everyday" food: 1) most need less than 30 minutes' involvement; 2) they have the fresh, clean taste of simple, authentic preparations; and 3) they are nutritionally balanced, full-featured meals—no elaborate side dishes required. Companion to a thirteen-part public television series, this book provides dishes you can eat with family and friends, day in and day out. Color throughout. More info
| Salsas That Cook : Using Classic Salsas To Enliven Our Favorite Dishes
Salsas That Cook is a breakthrough in contemporary American cooking. Here, Mexico's classic salsas get put to work in our kitchens in the same way we use a variety of international condiments, from teriyaki sauce to balsamic vinegar, to enliven and redefine the flavor of many American favorites. While most of us have enjoyed salsas as chip dips, salsas show great versatility when weaving complex flavor into simple dishes, from pasta to potatoes to meats, fish and vegetables.
Salsas embody the essence of Mexican flavor: the lusciousness of slow-roasted tomatoes, the full-flavored spice of chiles, the fragrance of cilantro and the mellow sweetness of garlic. Rick Bayless, the country's leading progenitor of real Mexican cooking, writes the six salsa recipes with such detail and personality that even beginning cooks will turn out masterful creations.
The uniqueness of this book, though, is in the way these six salsas are used. Here they give their pizzazz to chile-glazed roast chicken, grilled pork tenderloin and seared sea scallops with jalapeño cream. Familiar Mexican favorites have always used salsas for vitality, and many are here, from tangy guacamole to tortilla soup and grilled chicken tacos. In Salsas That Cook, the magic of Mexico transcends all borders. More info
| Authentic Mexican 20th Anniversary Ed: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico
Americans have at last discovered Mexico's passion for exciting food. We've fallen in love with the great Mexican combination of rich, earthy flavors and casual, festive dining. But we don't begin to imagine how sumptuous and varied the cooking of Mexico really is.
After ten years of loving exploration, Rick Bayless, together with his wife, Deann, gave us Authentic Mexican, this now classic, easy-to-use compendium of our southern neighbor's cooking.
This all-embracing cookbook offers the full range of dishes, from poultry, meat, fish, rice, beans, and vegetables to eggs, snacks made of corn masa, tacos, turnovers, enchiladas and their relatives, tamales, and moles, ending with desserts, sweets, and beverages. There are irresistible finger foods such as Yucatecan marinated shrimp tacos and crispy cheese-filled masa turnovers; spicy corn chowder and chorizo sausage with melted cheese will start off a special dinner; you will find mole poblano, charcoal-grilled pork in red-chile adobo, and marinated fish steamed in banana leaves for those times when you want to celebrate; and exotic ice creams, caramel custards, and pies to top off any meal. There's even a section devoted to refreshing coolers, rich chocolate drinks, and a variety of tequila-laced cocktails.
The master recipes feature all the pointers you'll need for re-creating genuine Mexican textures and flavors in a North American kitchen. Menu suggestions and timing and advance-preparation tips make these dishes perfectly convenient for today's working families. And traditional and contemporary variations accompany each recipe, allowing the cook to substitute and be creative.
Rick and Deann Bayless traveled more than thirty-five thousand miles investigating the six distinct regions of Mexico and learning to prepare what they found. From town to town, recipe by recipe, they personally introduce you to Mexico's cooks, their kitchens, their markets, and their feasts.
If, like the rest of us, you have a growing love for Mexican food, the reliable recipes in this book and the caring, personal presentation by Rick and Deann Bayless will provide meal after meal of pure pleasure for your family and friends. More info