Ah fish sauce. There is nothing like a little fermented anchovies to make your party come alive. Pop open the lid and take a whiff. It would wake the dead.
If you invited your worst enemy to the party, rub a little on your hands and pat his shoulder when he comes in the door. But if it’s a party for friends, spike the guacamole with it.
Lots of acidity and loaded with strong flavors, the avocado takes a back seat in this Thai-influenced guacamole. It won’t replace Diana Kennedy’s classic recipe for the real Mexican stuff, but it’s really good and remarkable enough to get people talking about it.
Fish sauce, an essential ingredient in Vietnamese and Thai cooking, is an amazing ingredient. Fish, water, and salt are put in huge wooden barrels and left to ferment for a year. The liquid is then drawn off through spigots and with some final processing is ready for bottling.
It smells like a combination of stinky French cheese and the week-old fish you discovered in the back of the fridge but it’s loaded with umami and gives sauces and soups (and condiments) a depth of flavor and body that salt could only dream about.
I understand the Romans used to make the stuff but it disappeared from their cuisine. This is a rare case in which the Italians may have missed the boat when it comes to food.
Add some chunks of avocado if you want to bring out more pure avocado flavor.