If there’s one food that unites everyone—and goes with everything—it’s guacamole. Now that temperatures are heating up and the soirée season is in full swing, few meals sound more refreshing than a margarita accompanied by chips and guacamole (all while poolside… or beachside, of course). So who better to ask about guacamole than Manuel Trevino, former Top Chef contestant and executive chef at Horchata, a fresh Mexican eatery in the heart of Greenwich Village that serves up gourmet Tex-Mex inspired favorites.
Haute Living sat down with Trevino and garnered the top tricks and tips for creating the perfect guacamole (recipe included), pairing cocktails seamlessly, and hosting a stress-free fiesta this summer.
What kind of appetizers and cocktails are best to pair with guacamole, chips, and salsa?
We have a jalapeno cucumber margarita that seems to be a fan favorite. I do a guacamole with apples and cucumbers as well, so the flavors really mimic each other. Micheladas go great with everything too. All of our agua frescas would be fantastic, especially in the summer. A nice, crisp white wine in the summer by the pool with some guacamole is perfect. And of course, you can’t forget champagne because champagne goes with everything!
What should people keep in mind when they are picking out avocados at local markets?
One is to feel it—to feel that it’s not too firm. Some avocados come to the market really, really hard. It shouldn’t be too soft either. You should look to see if it’s bruised. The other important part is that there’s a little piece at the top, a little nub, and you want to make sure that that’s intact because if that comes off, it gives air a way to get into it and it starts oxidizing.
What are the best ways to prevent the oxidation of avocados?
We use a solution of vitamin C and water. It’s expensive but some people have vitamin C powder. Other than that, the old lemon trick. What I like to do is get a wet paper towel and put a couple of drops of lemon juice and cover the sliced avocado in that wet paper towel that has the acid in it. It lasts a couple of hours. The other thing you can do when you make guacamole is take the pit and put the pit into the guacamole.
What’s the secret to cooking for a large-scale party?
The best advice is to do everything ahead—as much as you can. Choose items that you only have to attend to for minimal periods of time. Having everything done in advance saves you a lot of time, it saves you a lot of stress, and it helps with the timing. Do as many cold items as possible.
To prepare Horchata’s famous Guacamole Classico at home, here’s the recipe:
1 ea. avocado
1 demi kosher salt
2 tsp. small diced red onion
2 tsp. jalapeño serrano blend
2 tsp. cilantro
2 tsp. small diced plum tomato
1/2 ea. lime
1. In a small bowl, muddle salt, 1 tsp red onion, 1 tsp chiles, and 1 tsp cilantro to form a rough green-ish paste.
2.Cut the avocado in half. Discard the seed. With a spoon, make large scores in the flesh. Scoop avocado flesh into the bowl.
3. Fold avocado into the muddled mixture. Texture should be smooth, yet chunky.
4. Finish with 1 tsp of each red onion, chiles, cilantro, 2 tsp of diced tomatoes, and the juice of half a lime.
5. Fold mixture together and taste for seasoning. Adjust with lime juice and salt if necessary.