Dandelion Chandelier’s Luxury Dish is an occasional series featuring original recipes and their origin stories from our Luminaries, Fireflies, friends, families, and team of far-flung correspondents. They’re guaranteed to add sparkle to any menu.
This contribution is from our Luminary Alex Stupak, Chef and Founder of restaurant group Empellón, which includes Empellón Midtown (named one of the Best New Restaurants in New York City in 2017 by New York Magazine, and a finalist for the 2018 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant); Al Pastor in the East Village; and Empellón Taqueria in the West Village. You won’t find a better expert on food that is informed by the traditions of Mexico but not “traditional.” Hailed by New York Magazine as “hyper-talented,” Chef Alex agreed to share his recipe for guacamole with us. Because at the end of the day, who doesn’t love guacamole?
“People order guacamole in our restaurants without even looking at the menu,” Chef Alex says. “Guacamole paired with crunchy chips and a margarita is almost always the point for most people eating in a Mexican (or in our case Mexican inspired) restaurant. These preparations are actually not implicit at the beginning of a meal in Mexico.
This reality used to really upset me but over time I’ve decided that I am the type of Chef that wants to give people the things that make them happy. More interestingly I’ve learned that if you build trust through the comforting and familiar you create an opportunity to lure people toward the more daring and exotic.
Guacamole functions as our bread and butter, both literally and figuratively. We make ours very well and with minimal ingredients. Avocados, onion, cilantro, fresh green chiles, lime juice and sea salt. That’s it.”
Chef Alex Stupak’s Perfect Guacamole
1 small white onion
1 bunch of cilantro
3 ripe Hass avocados
As needed kosher salt
Peel and mince the onion. You only need 1/4 cup of minced onion so you may need to reserve some for another use. Place the minced onion in a basket strainer and rinse under cold running water for several minute. Drain the onions and set aside.
Pick about 70 of the best leaves you can from the cilantro bunch. Barely chop the leaves and set aside.
Cut the top off of the jalapenos cut them in quarters. Lay each quarter flat and cut away the seeds and white veins. Mince the jalapenos and set aside.
Cut open the avocados and remove their pits. Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and into a flat casserole dish. Mash the avocados with a small potato masher. Make sure the avocado still retains its texture.
Juice the limes and pour it over the guacamole. Add the minced onion, chopped cilantro and minced jalapeno. Season the mixture with salt and gently fold the mixture together.
Transfer your guacamole to a serving bowl and serve with tortilla chips.
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