Mexico's Sustainable Avocado Mecca

By Rowan Jacobsen, "Avocado Heaven," March/April 2010

Growing avocados in Mexico and delicious recipes to try.

After a day spent shopping those markets, Chef Bayless was inspired to make me a batch of guacamole. It’s hard to improve on the Aztecs’ original ahuaca-mulli, or “avocado sauce,” made of mashed avocados, chiles, tomatoes and onions, but Bayless may have done it with his roasted garlic guacamole topped with tasty garnishes like crisp bacon and toasted pumpkin seeds. The avocados he used had lovely hints of pine nuts and fennel. “Avocados don’t have a bold taste, but they have a complex one,” he explained. “It can be really fun to play around with different ingredients and see how they bring out different aspects of that complexity.”

Bayless’s comment stuck with me as I watched him cook. He used avocados to thicken salsa verde and to add richness to sopa de tortilla. a staple of Mexican cuisine. Later, when he concocted a sweet and luscious avocado ice cream it struck me that the avocado is nature’s emulsifier par excellence. Thousands of years before the invention of margarine or mayonnaise, the avocado tree had already figured out how to whip healthy unsaturated oil into a stable and spreadable paste. From creamy soups to decadent desserts, it has excelled in that role ever since, allowing all of us to savor the fat of the land.

Rowan Jacobsen is the James Beard Award-winning author of A Geography of Oysters, Fruitless Fall, The Living Shore and American Terroir, to be released in September.

rick bayless

Chef-restaurateur, cookbook author and television personality Rick Bayless has a new book, Fiesta at Rick’s, which is due out in July.

Photo Credit (Rick Bayless): Maren Caruso Photography

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