Top: The ingredients for guasacaca. Center: Simply add them to a blender or food processor. Bottom: The finished sauce in its original consistency. Photos courtesy Cory of TheAmuseBouche.com. Here’s her recipe.
A few nights ago we had a revelation. A great chef did an irresistible spin on guasacaca, the popular Venezuelan green sauce for grilled meats.
Chef Karlos Ponte, who ws born in Venezuela and worked at El Bulli and Noma, is now executive chef at Taller in Copenhagen. He and his team came to New York City to cook a one-night-only tasting dinner at The Pines in Brooklyn.
Chef Ponte changed the proportions of the classic guasacaca sauce: less avocado, more vinegar. In fact, we tasted herbs and acid instead of avocado.
While Venezuelan guasacaca is often made thick and chunky like guacamole, his interpretation is thin and acidic, like a French persillade (parsley, garlic, herbs, oil and vinegar).
This balance was perfection: We actually turned our backs to the room and licked the sauce off the plate. Thanks go to Taller’s general manager Jacob Brink Lauridsen (born in Venezuela, raised in Denmark), for taking this as a compliment.
Guasacaca (wa-sa-KA-ka) combines avocado with vinegar and herbs. It can be made with with bit of jalapeño or hot sauce, although like guacamole, it is not intended to be a hot and spicy sauce.
Guasacaca is served with beef, chicken and sausage grilled on a parilla.* It’s also a popular condiment with arepas and empanadas.
We generously received a container of the sauce “to go,” and have since served it with eggs, fish and seafood; as a salad dressing; and as a dip with crudités.
Chef Ponte’s sauce was so splendid, that our group of sophisticated palates used it with the breads (Chef Ponte’s recipes, also splendid), and drank some of it from the container on the way home from the restaurant.
Here’s the catch: We now have to work out proportions similar to Chef Ponte’s. We started by eliminating one avocado and doubling the red wine vinegar. Our first batch was delicious, but not yet perfection.
In the interim, here’s the classic guasacaca recipe, a real find for summer grilling. Add less oil for a dip.
RECIPE: GUASACACA SAUCE
Prep time is just 10 minutes, no cooking involved!
Ingredients For 2 Cups
1. PLACE all ingredients except the olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the container as needed. Process until smooth.
2. DRIZZLE in the olive oil in a continuous stream through feed tube (or top of blender), with the motor running. Process until smooth.
3. TASTE and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for an hour for the flavors to blend. Taste again and add more seasoning as desired.
4. SERVE the sauce at room temperature. You can make it in advance and store it in the fridge, but bring the sauce to room temperature before serving.
NOTE: If made in advance, the avocado portion can darken. Tamp a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the sauce.
†You can use less herbs—as little as 1/2 cup parsley and 1/4 cup cilantro—to taste. Save the stems for stock, soup or other recipes. You can also chop them and toss them into green salads.
‡In Venezuela, corn oil is used instead of olive oil.
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