To keep up with the guacamole orders at the four Triangle Gonza Tacos y Tequila restaurants, the kitchen goes through 750 pounds of avocados a week.
In my view, that makes executive chef David Peraza-Arce an expert at making guacamole.
Peraza-Arce and his kitchen staff are only about to get busier with a new Gonza Tacos y Tequila food truck hitting the road by early February and a fifth restaurant opening in Cary’s Waverly Place shopping center this spring.
He shared his kitchen wisdom in time for Super Bowl Sunday, when Americans are expected to consume about 104.8 million pounds of Hass avocados, according to the Hass Avocado Board.
Here are Peraza-Arce’s tips:
What to buy? Buy only the nubby, dark-skinned Hass avocados, not the smooth, light green-skinned Florida avocados, which have less fat. The skin of the Hass avocados turns dark green or black as it ripens. Check for any indentations, which may be a sign of bruises.
Is it ripe? Ripe avocados will yield to gentle pressure in the palm of your hand. If not, it will ripen in a few days. An overripe avocado will feel mushy or very soft to the touch.
How to prevent browning? You can’t, says Peraza-Arce. Oxidation will occur, so don’t believe the myth that nestling the avocado seed or pit in the guacamole will slow or prevent browning.
The only solution is to stop air from getting to the guacamole by laying plastic wrap on top of the dip before putting it in the refrigerator or topping the guacamole with a layer of olive oil. Still that only slows oxidation and doesn’t prevent it completely, he says.
Best approach? Make the guacamole right before serving. Better yet, get your guests involved. “You can make it fun for the Super Bowl and get people to help,” he says.
Get creative. Peraza-Arce says guacamole lends itself to additions: lump crab meat, cooked pork belly, pomegranate seeds, mango, pineapple or roasted pumpkin seeds. But don’t you dare add green peas or risk the wrath of your party-goers, like the New York Times food editor Sam Sifton did in 2015.
Alas, Peraza-Arce says, the best time of year to make guacamole is actually in the summer when avocados are in peak season.
Consider Super Bowl Sunday practice for warmer days.
Gonza Tacos y Tequilas has four locations in Raleigh, Wake Forest and Durham. A food truck and a Cary location are in the works. gonzatacosytequila.com
Gonza Tacos y Tequilas’ Guacamole
Courtesy of executive chef Jose David Peraza-Arce of Gonza Tacos y Tequila, which has four locations in the Triangle.
3 ripe Hass avocados, pits and skin removed, cubed
1 Roma tomato, cut into medium dice
1/4 cup red onion, cut into medium dice
1 handful cilantro leaves, finely minced
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño juice
1 serrano pepper, finely minced
Pinch or two of Kosher salt
Right before serving, combine avocado, tomato, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño juice, serrano pepper and salt. Do not over mix. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
Yield: 2 cups