Monday, May 15, 2023

ABRAMS Dinner Party Spotlight: Asada Cookbook...Featuring A Better Pico and Blended Guacamole #AsadaCookbook #abramsdinnerparty #guacamole #picodegallo #makeitfresh #mexicanfood

It's time to feature another great new cookbook as part of ABRAMS Publishing's #abramsdinnerparty blogging group. Today, I'm featuring a cookbook that's perfect for your Summer entertaining plans! Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral's Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling features foods commonly served at an asada. Throughout 
Southern California, an asada is a gathering of family and friends, great music, cold beverages -- and a healthy side of fun and community. The party centers around smoky grilled meat with flavors and spices traditional to Mexico. Asada's 100 recipes are divided into eight key elements served at an asada: botanas (appetizers), carnes (meats), mariscos (seafood), side dishes and vegetables, salsas, aguas frescas, cocktails, and dessert. 

See my Instagram account (weekendgourmet) to get their recipe for marinated, grilled Carne Asada Classica. I opted to focus here on a pair of accompaniments: tangy-spicy Blended Guacamole and A Better Pico. Both are simple to make and taste incredibly fresh! If you've never made homemade pico de gallo, THIS is definitely the recipe you want to try. 

A Better Pico and Blended Guacamole
from Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling
(1) A Better Pico
Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes (8.5 oz)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup minced white onion
  • 3 TBS finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 jalapenos, stemmed and finely chopped [NOTE: If you're like me and prefer a milder spice level, use ONE small jalapeno with the seeds and membranes removed.]
  • 1/4 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
Step 1: Using a cheese grater, grate tomatoes one a time over a bowl...preserving all juices. 
Personal note: be vert careful and go slow! I got a nasty cut on my knuckle via the grater when a tomato slipped as I grated it.
Step 2: In a skillet over Medium heat, toast the garlic clove until the edges are lightly charged. Finely mince the softened garlic clove.
In a bowl, combine garlic with onion, cilantro, jalapeno, oregano, lime juice, and salt. Serve immediately. 
I stored my pico in the fridge while I cooked the rest of my meal. Before serving, I drained off the excess fluid that accumulated in the bowl before spooning into my serving bowl.

(2) Blended Guacamole
Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
  • 6 TBS fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 serrano chile, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/4 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 3 large avocados, pitted and peeled
Step 1: Put the lime juice, salt, cilantro, chile, and oregano in a blender and blend until smooth. Lopez says its ok to add a bit of water if needed to help everything blend smoothly.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, mash the avocados and pour the lime juice mixture over the top. Mix everything until well combined into a smooth guacamole. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
To serve, spoon the pico and guacamole into colorful serving bowls...and place on top of a platter of tortilla chips. This is a perfect pre-meal appetizer combo...and both are great spooned on top of tacos.
This pico and guacamole are deliciously fresh...and a bit different than typical recipes for these classic accompaniments. Grating the tomatoes for the pico yields a topper/dipper that is thick and spoonable...and not watery. The guacamole is thinner than typical chunky versions...and features a tangy-spicy flavor profile. Both are perfect as taco toppers...or eaten with sturdy tortilla chips. 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Asada cookbook as part of the ABRAMS Publishing #abramsdinnerparty blogging group. All opinions shared in this article are solely my own.

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