Hotel Jesus’s Guacamole (to pair with tequila)
For Darren Mercaldi, Executive Chef of the Jesus and Mamasita Hotel, Mexican cuisine is above all a social occasion. “Most Mexican dishes are all about sharing,” Mercaldi says. “[In Mexico] they will sit down and have whole lamb legs torn apart with tortillas and condiments on the side. In his experience, everything is done with communal meals in mind.
At the center of this is the guacamole. “If you want to put on a bit of a show, you can make the guacamole look good and serve it as an appetizer for a dinner party or a get-together with friends,” Mercaldi explains. Basically, you can get by with nothing more than mashed avocado and salt, but Mercaldi says it’s all about ratios. “People don’t put enough lime in it,” he says. “It gives it a nice tangy freshness.” Pair it with a tequila seltzer like Rey Loco Tequila and Lime lean into pungent mouth.
Mercaldi’s recipe leans towards the traditional. If you want to emulate it, be a little restrained when it comes to mashed avocado. “A lot of people think it should be pretty smooth,” Mercaldi says. “It’s not. It has to be big enough. If I do it traditionally enough at Hotel Jesus, people will say it’s too big.
There’s another traditional Mexican ingredient that Mercaldi loves: the avocado leaf. Little used in guacamole, you will find it in traditional Mexican cuisine. “I have avocado trees at home, so I fried them and tasted guac,” he says. “It gives a nice aniseed element to the dish.”
Finding avocado leaves in Australian stores can be tricky. “Put an announcement on your Facebook community page,” suggests Mercaldi. “[Surely] few people around your neighborhood will have an avocado tree that [might] let you pinch some leaves.
If you find one, gently heat some oil in a frying pan and place the leaf in it. “It will take on a nice bright green color – you don’t want to fry it, it comes out like a flea,” he says. Place the whole sheet on top of the guacamole or crumble it.
Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or, really, whatever you and your guests fancy. “You can have it with Salada cookies, Savoys, crackers,” says Mercaldi. “The possibilities are limitless.”
Darren Mercaldi’s Guacamole
For 4 people
Preparation time: 15 minutes
6g of salt
100ml lime juice
100 g tomatoes, diced (5 mm)
50 g onion, diced (5 mm)
50 g pickled jalapeños, diced (5 mm)
1 avocado leaf (optional)
Cut the avocados in half, seed them and scoop out the flesh with a spoon, then mash them with a potato masher or fork. Season generously with salt and lime juice, then stir in the tomato, onion and jalapeno.
In 50 ml of frying oil, fry the avocado leaf over low heat (about 140°C) for about 20 seconds. To serve, top the guacamole with the fried sheet and serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Rey Loco.