Latin Twist: Guacamole with Grapes and Toasted Nuts

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I don’t think that the avocado was, for me, a love-at-first-bite kind of thing, but wow, times have changed. These days I find it hard hard to resist the nutty flavor of avocado flesh; it can be eaten with just a squirt of lime and a sprinkle of salt, used as a topping for soups and salads, or used as a backdrop in different guacamoles and salsas.

This interpretation of guacamole—with a bit of spark and smoke from chipotles, sweet from the grapes, and crunch from the nuts—is a crowd pleaser, and perfect as a kick-off treat for your spring or summertime barbecues. For a larger crowd, this recipe is super simple to multiply. (By the way, to make chipotle purée, you can buy a can of chipotles en adobo in any Latin market—or section of a market—and purée them in a blender. This will keep for up to 6 weeks, or beyond, in the fridge—and adds a nice smoky flavor to sauces—and even mayonnaise.)

Serve this guacamole with a bowl of your favorite tortilla chips, and ice-cold beer or fruit-filled sangría.

The recipe, after the jump.

Guacamole with Grapes and Toasted Nuts

Adapted from Mambo Mixers, by Arlen Gargagliano, ©2005

Stewart, Tabori & Chang

Makes about 2 cups  

2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped

1 small shallot or 1/2 a red onion, finely diced

Juice of 1/2 lime, plus more as desired

1/2 teaspoon chipotle purée  (or more—according to taste)

15 to 20 seedless red grapes, halved

1/3 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts) coarsely chopped

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a large bowl, combine the avocados, red onion, and lime juice. Stir in the chipotle purée and grapes, but don’t mix it too much or the avocados will get mushy. At this point, you may want to refrigerate the guacamole (with the avocado pit, so the browning is lessened). Just before serving, remove the pit, stir to mix. Add another squirt of fresh lime juice, and then the toasted pecans, salt and pepper, and cilantro.

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About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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