It's Super Bowl week! The Super Bowl is the fifth most important American food holiday. Time for recipes for your party!
*Thanksgiving, Christmas, Forth of July, Memorial Day, Super Bowl. Actually, I think the Super Bowl has passed the Forth of July and Memorial Day, and moved up to #3, right behind Christmas...
Guacamole is a Super Bowl* standby, but it has a couple of problems. The first is ripe avocados. Sometimes they are perfect; black on the outside, soft on the inside. Other times they're not ready yet - green with black on the bumps, or even worse, an entirely green peel. Green avocado peel translates to rock hard. I solve the "not ready yet" problem by grilling the avocados. This softens them up and adds a smoky flavor to the guacamole.
*I know I'm not supposed to use the copyrighted phrase "Super Bowl" if I haven't paid licensing rights to the NFL. I'm supposed to use a euphemism like "the big game". When their lawyers come to get me, you'll know why.
**Hopefully they don't send Terry Tate, Office Linebacker instead of the laywers…
The second issue is tomatoes. I add a little tomato to my guacamole; I like the color and flavor it adds. But early February is not tomato season. You cannot get farther from tomato season without falling off the calendar. The "tomatoes" they sell at the grocery store taste a little better than the plastic cartons they're packed in - but only because they're juicier. That's why Rick Bayless's suggestion to use sun dried tomatoes in guacamole was such a revelation. Why didn't I think of that? When I read the recipe last summer, my mind flashed to deep winter guacamole.
*Yes, I was thinking about February guacamole while reading a cookbook in July. Yes, I spend too much time thinking about cooking. I'd like to apologize for that…but right now I'm busy enjoying my guacamole.
Recipe: Grilled Guacamole with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Inspired by: Rick Bayless, Fiesta at Rick's
Cooking time: 5 minutes plus mincing and mashing time.
- Grill (I use my monster Weber Summit. Sure it's overkill for a few avocados...but I love it. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- 3 large avocados, sliced in half and pit removed, skin left on
- ½ red onion, minced
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced (seeded if you want to decrease the heat)
- ¼ cup minced sun dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1. Grill the avocado:
Preheat the grill to medium heat, brush the grill clean, and oil the grates with a folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Put the avocado, cut side down, over direct medium heat and grill for 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and let cool for a few minutes.
2. Make the guacamole:
Scoop the avocado out of its skin and into a bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork or a potato masher, then stir in the rest of the ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Taste and add more salt and lime juice as necessary.
*Not-So-Grilled Guacamole: If you have ripe avocados, you don't have to grill them. Start with step two, and make regular guacamole.
*Be careful when removing the pit from the avocado. Alton Brown taught me how to do this safely [Video - start at 9:25]. Cut all the way around the long end of the avocado with a chef's knife, cutting all the way to the pit. Twist the two halves to separate them. The pit will stay in one half. Hold that half in the palm of your left hand and carefully whack the blade of the chef's knife into the pit. Twist the knife and the avocado pit will come out of the avocado, stuck to the knife. Now, reach around the spine of the chef's knife, with with your thumb and pointer finger, and pinch right where the seed meets the knife to push the seed off of the knife. This keeps your hand and fingers away from the sharp edge while you remove the slippery avocado pit.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Rick Bayless, Fiesta At Rick's
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