This, friends, is a molcajete. It is a kind of mortar and pestle made of rough stone that is excellent for grinding spices and other food. I don’t own one but found myself wishing I did earlier this evening.
I decided to make Roberto Santibañez’ Classic Guacamole from Food52’s Genius Recipes cookbook. Avocados are crazy inexpensive right now so what better time? I’ve winged guacamole before by throwing together the basic ingredients: avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, lime. I’ve gotten good results and had never really thought much about guacamole beyond that. This recipe treated the ingredients a bit differently by grinding the pepper, cilantro, onion and salt into a paste using the molcajete. From there, you fold chunks of avocado into the paste and, voila, you’ve got guacamole.
My advice for the molcajete-less amongst us is just to throw the onion, pepper, cilantro and salt into a food processor and be done with it. I experimented with many combinations of bowl and crushing implement, including a small mortar and pestle I use for grinding spices. I finally got a leafy mash that I decided would work. I should have just lugged out the food processor. If you have a mini-processor, this would be a perfect application.
The result? A damn fine guacamole. We enjoyed it on chips and mini sweet peppers.
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, divided in half
- 1 large or 2 small ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
- A squeeze of lime, to taste
- Mash the onion, jalapeño, salt and half the cilantro into a paste using a molcajete or mortar and pestle. (Or just throw it into a food processor!)
- Score the avocados into a crosshatch pattern with a knife. Scoop it out of the skins with a spoon and place in the bowl with the paste. Fold the cubes of avocado into the paste, adding the rest of the cilantro and lime juice & salt to taste.
Adapted from Roberto Santibañez' Classic Guacamole.