Papalo Guacamole

Papalo, a native herb to Mexico and South America, fell into my hands the other day in Sooke, a far cry from points south. Markus Weiland, chef and owner of Markus’ Restaurant in Sooke, was born in Mexico City and grows the herb in his garden along with tomatillos, squash, figs, epazote and an assortment of greens for his restaurant. Papalo, also known as summer cilantro, Bolivian or Peruvian coriander, has small circular, flat leaves and a pungent aroma with a piquant flavour that’s slightly peppery with hints of sorrel and cucumber.

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I first came across fresh papalo during a stage at Fonda San Miguel in Austin, Texas, then under the guidance of chef Roberto Santibanez. Showing me various cooking techniques, he threw together a simple guacamole with papalo standing in as cilantro, all ground in the stone molcajete. Weiland said he prefers to eat papalo with a slightly burnt tortilla with avocado, a simple snack.

I threw the two ideas together one afternoon and made the guacamole, with slightly burned tortillas on the side, and extra papalo for tang. The flavours instantly evoked Mexico, friendship and simply great food!

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For more information on papalo, check out this wonderful article in the LA Times. For folks on Vancouver Island, Ragley Farm in East Sooke is growing the herb.

Papalo Guacamole (recipe on the fly)

One serrano pepper, stemmed

salt

4 or 5 tomatillos, raw, husked and rinsed

1 avocado

Handful of fresh papalo leaves

Grind the ingredients together in a molcajete, or alternatively, use a blender on the pulse mode, to maintain some texture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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