For many of us, saying we want Mexican just means we want guacamole. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or enchiladas, we don’t really care. We just know we want guac on it. So when we sit down at a Mexican restaurant these days we almost order it subconsciously. The waiter says “Good evening. How’s it going?” We say “Fine thanks. I’ll have a margarita and the guacamole” before we even open the menu. While this is fine, we’re starting to think that restaurants are catching on and taking advantage of us. It’s like they know (and they’re right) we love guac, and they figure we’ll order it whether or not it’s even good. And therefore, unfortunately, it’s often not. It’s often under or over salted, void of chunks, slightly browned, and just plain sad. And quite frankly we’re really sick of it.
So that’s why for this edition of Inside The Dish we’re bringing you what’s probably the best guacamole in the city, the guac from The Black Ant. Because while we all know it doesn’t take a culinary wizard to mix up a bowl of guac, it definitely takes some skills and effort to make it this good. And we appreciate this effort because it reminds us that restaurants that pay attention to the little things are always the best. Like having a good bread basket, giving the option of still or sparkling, having nice hand towels in the bathroom, providing mints with the check, and getting your guacamole recipe straight from the executive chef’s grandmother even though you know we’ll order it regardless. We appreciate you, Black Ant, for going the extra mile.
So if you’re behind our motion to give guacamole the love and attention it deserves, follow The Black Ant’s (or perhaps we should say Chef Mario Hernandez’s grandmother’s) recipe below.
1 tbsp Cilantro
1 tbsp Chopped jalapeños
2 tbsps Chopped red onion
2 tbsp Chopped tomato
Ant salt (if you can’t get ants from the farm in Oaxaca where chef Hernandez gets his, regular salt will just have to do)
Handful of cancha aka fried corn nuts (just buy them. This recipe is all about ease)
Pico de gallo (again, buy pre-made if you want. Otherwise you’ve got a lot of slicing and dicing ahead)
ADD FIRST HALF OF INGREDIENTS
1. Half the avocados and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Chef Hernandez says to always ripen avos at room temp. No fridge people.
2. Add in salt and a dash of olive oil.
3. Juice the limes and add in. Then add jalapeño and red onion.
4. Mash the avos and mix together using a spoon. IMPORTANT NOTE: this recipe is all about making guac extra special, and that means handling with care to ensure maximum chunkiness. Chef Hernandez’s technique involves first using the spoon as a knife to slice through the avocados, then mashing ever so gently. DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT over mash. Handle with care.
ADD SECOND HALF OF INGREDIENTS
1. Add cilantro and chopped tomato.
2. Fold it all together to create a mound. Again, do not take out your aggression on the avocados and pound them into oblivion. What did they ever do to you? Nothing except be delcious. So be gentle and fold neatly.
PLATE, GARNISH, AND SERVE
1. Transfer your single mound of guacamole into presentable bowl.
2. Garnish with whatever you want really, but Chef Hernandez does ant salt, chili pasilla (a mild chili), pico de gallo, and cancha (the fried corn nuts)
3. Serve with tostadas or just go straight in with a spoon. And don’t forget about those margaritas.
If you couldn’t find ant salt and want to experience the real thing, go to The Black Ant tonight. It’s located at 60 Second Ave in the East Village.