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El Fenix Guacamole Salad

Founded in 1918 by Miguel “Mike” Martinez, El Fenix is the oldest Mexican restaurant chain in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. El Fenix’s guacamole is extremely rich; you can use it as a dip, but it makes a stupendous salad. Several easier variations from other restaurants follow.

  • 4 ripe avocados 
  • 2 tomatoes, parboiled, peeled, and minced 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced 
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce 
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/4 onion, minced 
  • 1 T. olive oil 
  • Molcajete Sauce (recipe follows) 

Scoop out the avocado flesh and combine in a food processor or molcajete with the other ingredients. Serve in iceberg “cups” with shredded lettuce, chips, and molcajete sauce on the side. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. 

Molcajete Sauce

The original version of this basic Tex-Mex salsa was made in a mortar of coarse stone called a molcajete. The traditional recipe calls for chiles and tomatoes to be roasted in a comal, a flat cast-iron griddle, then ground together in the molcajete with a tejolote, or pestle. The tiny chile pequin, which grows wild in Texas, was once the most common chile pepper used in this sauce. You can use a food processor instead of the molcajete, but don’t skip the roasting step. You’ll be amazed by how much it improves the flavor. You can serve this everyday table sauce with almost anything. 

  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 1/2 T. fresh lime juice 
  • 6 Roma or other tomatoes 
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and halved lengthwise 
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 1 c. chopped fresh cilantro 
  • Salt 

Soak the onion in the lime juice for 15 minutes in a small bowl. “Roast” the tomatoes, chile halves, and garlic clove in an ungreased skillet over high heat, turning as needed until slightly charred on all sides. Pulse in a blender; the mixture should remain chunky. Transfer to a bowl and add the onion, lime juice, and cilantro. Salt to taste. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Makes about 3 cups.

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