The problem with chef Roberto Santibañez’s category-defining classic guacamole recipe is that once you try it, you stop acknowledging that others exist. It’s five ingredients and a perfect food, and will make you both an excellent guacamole provider and a terrible guacamole snob. But in the same cookbook, there are nine others worth trying. In making his case for tequila-apple-pecan, he’s very specific. The apple needs to be sweet and crunchy (not Granny Smith-tart) and diced not too fine, to contrast just vocally enough with the guac’s salty heat and richness. The pecans should be tossed in butter after toasting, not before, so you get fresh, unbrowned butter flavor, too. Adapted slightly from Truly Mexican (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011). —Genius Recipes
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Roberto Santibañez' Guacamole with Tequila & Apples
For the apples & pecans
1 large crisp, sweet apple, such as Gala or Macintosh, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1 tablespoon silver (blanco) tequila
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup pecan halves, sliced crosswise or coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon butter
1/8 teaspoon fine salt, or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
For the guacamole
1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, stemmed
2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
1 teaspoon coarse salt, or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt (or to taste)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, divided
1 large or 2 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
Toss the apple with the tequila and lime juice in a bowl and let the mixture stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Heat the oven or toaster oven to 350° F. Spread the pecans on a small baking pan and bake until golden and fragrant, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and toss to melt the butter and coat the pecans. Sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat.
Heat a comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over medium-low heat and roast the chile, turning it over with tongs once or twice, until tender, blistered all over, and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the chile (you might have to use a paring knife).
Mash the chile, onion, salt (the coarseness of the kosher salt will help you make the paste), and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro to a paste in a molcajete or other mortar. You can also mince and mash the ingredients together on a cutting board with a large knife, and then transfer the paste to a bowl.
Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife and then scoop it with the spoon into the mortar or bowl. Toss well, mashing the avocado coarsely with a pestle or fork, taking care to keep the avocado chunky.
Gently stir in the apple mixture and most of the pecans just until it holds together. Garnish with the remaining pecans and cilantro. Serve right away with tortilla chips.
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