The universal recipe for a good guacamole, says Rocky Barnette, is perfectly ripe avocados, a good balance of salt, and lime. But he’ll also let you in on a little secret: the trick to a great guacamole is “a sneaking suspicion of cumin and a healthy drizzle of very fine extra virgin olive oil.”
The chef of The Capri, the buzzy Marfa restaurant that’s become a symbol of the West Texas town’s artistic revival, recently released a new cookbook with his wife, Ballroom Marfa founder Virginia Lebermann. Called *Cooking in Marfa: Welcome, We’ve Been Expecting You*, it’s half recipes, half visual homage to the rolling plains and stark desert landscape that envelopes this remote, creative oasis.
Their guacamole certainly isn’t the most interesting dish in the cookbook (that title belongs to “Cowboy Caviar,” or caviar served with Fritos), which Barnette readily admits. “It does not seem like the world needs any guacamole recipes,” he notes. But it’s proved to be a beloved classic at The Capri: “When we make it at the restaurant, we usually sell out because as soon as the first order goes out everyone in the dining room winds up ordering it,” he says. Outside the restaurant, he’s prepared it for a variety of occasions, from an art opening celebrating Mexican artists to dinner for a traditional Indian wedding.
Below, the legendary recipe (unofficially-dubbed “Rockamole”). It’s a perfect dish for any laid-back summer soirée.
Grilled Avocado Guacamole
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup avocado oil
1 tsp citric acid (optional)
6 firm-ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ medium red onion, cut into 1/8 inch (3 mm) dice
2 large jalapeños, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch (3 mm) dice
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the grill or a cast-iron grill pan to very high heat
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, avocado oil, and citric acid (if using). Season the avocados with salt and pepper. Brush them liberally with the lime juice mixture.
Place the avocado halves flesh side down on the grill until they are slightly charred, about 4 minutes. Flip them and grill on the skin side for 1-2 minutes to heat the avocados through but not char the skin. Remove from the grill and brush the flesh side with more lime juice mixture. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Squeeze the avocado flesh into a large molcajete or bowl. It should slip right out of the skins from the grilling. Add the onion, jalapenos, cilantro, cumin, olive oil and any remaining lime juice mixture from the grilling process.
Process with the mano in the molcajete or with a spool in the bowl to get a semi-smooth paste with some small chunks about the size of a pea. Season with salt and pepper
Serve immediately with the freshly fried tostones for dipping. Guacamole can be stored in a pastry bag or airtight container for up to one day.