notes from the mexican kitchen
Mexican Weekend/

This apple guacamole is full of fall

If you’ve ever gone apple picking, you know how it feels to come home with bushels upon bushels of apples, only to wonder: What am I going to do with all of these? After all, a person can only make so many apple pies.Mexican_lightblueLogo_POST_170x177-copy

That’s where this Apple-Fennel Guacamole comes in. It’s a modern guac packed with roasted fennel and crunchy apples and given a final sprinkle of thyme leaves. Schmear it on crostini, use it to top a piece of fish or just eat it with a spoon out of the bowl—there are plenty of apples around right now, so you can always make more.

This is the kind of guacamole to put on a dressed-up table with lots of fresh vegetables for dipping, maybe some garlic toasts or grilled pita, even some rustic tortilla chips. That said, my favorite way to serve it is as a condiment with grilled chicken or fish on an Indian summer afternoon sitting in my backyard. Which happens far too infrequently. This recipe is from my book Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks.
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Ingredients

  • 1medium fennel bulb, stalks and fronds cut off
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2medium apple (a crisp-texture one like Granny Smith works good here), peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2tablespoons lime juice
  • 3ripe, medium-largeavocados
  • 1generous teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1largeserrano chile, stemmed, seeded (if you wish) and finely chopped

Instructions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the fennel bulb in half, then cut each half in 3 wedges.  Lay them in a single layer in small baking dish, drizzle them with olive oil, measure in ¼ cup water, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, cover with foil and slide into the oven.  Bake until the fennel is tender, about 1 hour. Cool. Remove the fennel to a cutting board, pull off any exterior layers that seem fibrous, cut out and discard the pieces of core that hold each wedge together, then chop the remainder into tiny pieces—the tinier the better here.

While the fennel is cooking, scoop the apple into a bowl, sprinkle it with the lime juice and toss to combine.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

Mash the avocado flesh in a large bowl: Cut the avocados in half, running a knife around the pit from top to bottom and back up again. Twist the halves in opposite directions to release the pit from one side.  Scoop out the pit, then scoop the flesh from each half. With an old-fashioned potato masher, large fork or back of a large spoon, coarsely mash the avocado.

Add the thyme, chopped green chile, apples (including all the lime juice) and half of the chopped fennel to the avocado, and stir to combine. (Refrigerate the remaining fennel to add to a salad or pasta dish.)  Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon.  Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate until serving time.   When you’re ready for the guacamole, scoop it into a serving dish and sprinkle with the cheese.

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