Hotel Jesus Guacamole (to pair with Tequila)

For Darren Mercaldi, Executive Chef at Hotel Jesus and Mamasita, Mexican cuisine is all about the social occasion. “Most Mexican food shares the wave,” Mercaldi says. “[In Mexico] They’ll sit and rip whole lamb legs with tortillas and seasoning on the side.” In his experience, everything is done with group dining in mind.

The center of it is guacamole. “If you want to give a little presentation, you can make the guacamole look cute and serve it as a starter for a dinner party or get-together with friends,” Mercaldi says. At its simplest, you can’t get away with anything more than mashed avocado and salt, but Mercaldi says it’s all about proportions. “People don’t put enough lime in it,” he says. “It gives it a nice, subtle freshness.” Pair it with seltzer tequila like Rey Loco Tequila and Lime for a mouth-watering treat.

Mercaldi’s recipe leans toward the traditional. If you want to emulate it, be a little restrictive when it comes to mashing an avocado. “A lot of people assume it has to be very smooth,” Mercaldi says. “That’s not the case. It must be somewhat chunky. If I traditionally do it at the Jesus Hotel, people will say it’s very chunky.”

There is another traditional Mexican ingredient that Mercaldi loves: avocado leaves. Not used much in guacamole, you’ll find it in traditional Mexican cuisine. “I have some avocados at home, so I fried them really well and tasted like a jack,” he says. “It gives a nice aniseed element to the dish.”

Finding avocado leaves in Australian stores can be tricky. “Put an ad on your community page on Facebook,” Mercaldi suggests. “[Surely] Few people around your area will have an avocado tree [might] Allow you to pinch some papers.”

If you find one, gently heat some oil in a frying pan and place the paper in it. “It’s going to be a nice bright green—you don’t want to fry until it comes out like a chip,” he says. Place the whole leaf on top of the guacamole or break it up.

Serve alongside your favorite tortilla chips or, really, whatever you and your guests want. “You can have it with Salada, Savoys, and crackers,” Mercaldi says. “The possibilities are endless.”

Darren Mercaldi Guacamole
Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes

2 avocado
6 grams of salt
100 ml lemon juice
100 g chopped tomatoes (5 mm)
50 g onions, cut into cubes (5 mm)
50 gm pickled jalapeno, cut into cubes (5 mm)
1 avocado leaf (optional)

Cut the avocado in half, remove the seeds from the seeds and scoop out the pulp with a spoon, then mash it with a potato masher or a fork. Season with salt and lemon juice, then combine with tomatoes, onions and jalapenos.

In 50ml of cooking oil, fry the avocado leaves over low heat (about 140°C) for 20 seconds. To serve, top the fried guacamole and serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Rey Loco.

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