23 May 2009

Mexico One Plate At A Time

Rick Bayless is one of those sweet chefs who just loves Mexican food. He always has and I am sure he always will. He is wildly passionate about his subject which makes it all rather contagious. His introduction tells about a friend who was mortified to see that a restaurant touting Roman cuisine featured a risotto, clearly a northern dish. He finds that while Mexico is our neighbor, we are still at the “spaghetti-and-meatball stage with regard to Mexican cuisine.

Mexico One Plate At A Time is very PBS, but in a good way. He offers up his recipe for guacamole which is rather straight forward. After the recipe, however, he anticipates and answers questions you might have about the recipe and he provides detailed answers. Some guacamole Cliff Notes

What kind of avocado works best? Hass.
How do you achieve the best flavor? Roast the peppers.
How long will guacamole last? Just a hour or so, maybe three.

I have been making a lot of guacamole in the last few weeks, so I have been interested in various recipes. It is after all guacamole so mash the avocados and voilé. I like this recipe because I have been roasting everything on the grill before making the guacamole and I find it gives it a great flavor. Unlike Bayless, I even roast the avocado.

Roasted Poblano Guacamole with Garlic and Parsley

2 medium (about 6 ounces total) fresh poblano peppers
6 ounces (1 medium or 2 plumb) ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
3 medium-large (about 1 1 /4 pound total) ripe avocados
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons grated Mexican queso anejo or other dry grating cheese, such as Romano or Parmesan
A few slices of radish for garnish

1. The Poblanos, Tomatoes and Garlic. Lay the poblanos, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking sheet and set 4 inches below a very hot broiler. Roast, turning every couple of minutes, until the chilies and tomatoes are soft, blistered and blackened in spots and the garlic is soft, 12 to 13 minutes. Place the chilies in a bowl, cover with a towel and let stand for 5 minutes, then wipe off the blackened skin. Pull or cut out the stems, seed pods and seeds, rinse quickly to remove any stray seeds and bits of char. When the tomatoes are cool, peel off and discard their skins. Slip the papery skins off the garlic. In a mortar or in a food processor, make a coarse puree or the roasted garlic and poblanos (with both the mortar and processor, it’s best to start with the garlic, then add the poblanos); place in a large bowl. Chop the roasted tomatoes (for this recipe, it is best not to use any of the juice from the baking sheet) and add to the poblano mixture along with the parsley.

2. Finishing the Guacamole. Cut the avocados lengthwise in half around the pit, twist the halves apart and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh into the bowl with the flavorings. Using a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, coarsely mash everything together. Taste and season with salt, using a scant teaspoon, then add enough lime juice to enliven all the flavors. Cover with plastic wrap, placing directly on the surface, and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.
The roasted vegetables really do add flavor and depth to the guacamole. Remember Rick Bayless next time you think about pulling into that Taco Bell.

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