Guacamole with Pistachios

Guac-w-pistachios It never occurred to me that avocado and pistachio would make a great combination. Thankfully, it occurred to Chef Stupak at Empillón Cocina, an innovative Mexican restaurant in New York.

I love guacamole but it is so ubiquitous it can become tiresome. This version preserves traditional flavors while adding just enough of a new wrinkle to reinvigorate my taste for this old standby.

I don’t know the science but it would not surprise me to find avocados and pistachios share flavor components. It is remarkable how similar they are. The avocado hits the palate first but the transition to pistachio-dominance is seamless, with the toasted flavors of the nuts providing contrast and depth. The lime then kicks in to provide a lengthy, refreshing finish. Just choose a chip that will stay out of the way.

Without the pistachios, this guacamole would have too much onion and lime but the pistachio adds sufficient depth and contrast so the onion and lime function as flavor boosters, helping the avocado match the sweetness of the nuts.

This is a very well designed dish.

Recipe is below the fold. 

Guacamole with Pistachios

Adapted from a Recipe by Chef Alex Stupak

Serves 4-6


½ cup olive oil

½ cup hulled pistachios (either raw or roasted in their shell will work)

kosher salt, as needed

1/4 cup minced onion

1 bunch cilantro

1 jalapeños

3 ripe avocados

2 limes


Heat olive oil in a skillet, and toast the pistachios. (If you are using roasted pistachios you can skip this step or add just a very light toast. In any case be careful not to burn them.).

Drain pistachios on a towel-lined plate and season with salt. Reserve the oil and allow to cool.

Using a small strainer, rinse the onion under cold water for 2-3 minutes. Drain the onions and reserve.

Pick 70 leaves form the cilantro bunch.  Leave half of them whole and roughly chop the other half.

Cut stem from jalapeno, slice lengthwise and remove seeds and veins. Mince the jalapeños and reserve.

Juice the limes and reserve.

Cut open avocados, remove pits, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Lightly mash the avocados making sure to retain some texture.

Add lime juice, 3/4 of the pistachios, minced onion, jalapenos, and chopped cilantro to the avocado and fold the mixture together.

Add salt to taste.

Transfer the guacamole to a serving bowl and garnish with the whole cilantro leaves and remaining pistachios.  Drizzle the guacamole with a teaspoon of the reserved olive oil that was used to toast the pistachios.

Serve the guacamole with tortilla chips.

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