Thursday, November 3, 2011

Avocado leaves / hojas de aguacate

Ok, not the best photo in the world but I must share. The pictured leaves, which look like they might be giant bay leaves, are actually avocado leaves. It's the first of hopefully many experiments with this exciting––and completely new to me––ingredient. Because the Day of the Dead was yesterday, an occasion during which people here prepare (among other things) tamales, mole, atole, coffee, tequila, and pan de muertos, Fiesta Mart started selling some of the harder-to-acquire ingredients that go into central Mexican moles and tamales, avocado leaves being one of them. They have a sharp anise-like aroma, somewhat like hoja santa, with a slightly bitter bay leaf-like substratum. I have read that Oaxacans oven roast lamb on a bed of avocado leaves, which, now that I've tasted this intense ingredient, I am certain is an exquisite lamb preparation. The above photo is a basic pot roast prepared with avocado leaves, cloves, and Tellicherry pepper as seasoning. Not pretty but a resounding success in the flavor department. Next, I'd like to try to duplicate a salsa from the menu of El Bajío, one of my favorite brunch spots in Mexico City, made with roasted avocado leaves, serrano chiles, and tomatillo. I'm also thinking I'll do a carrot and avocado leaf infused vodka, and perhaps an avocado fruit and avocado leaf infused vodka as well. The possibilities are endless. Happy Day of the Dead, y'all!

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