When the opportunity to investigate the recent Pea Situation presents itself, how do you not jump all over it?
In case you are unfamiliar with the kerfuffle,The Pea Situation involves this New York Times guacamole recipe:
And has caused such a stir of negativity that even the president has an opinion.
Now, I love Melissa Clark and New York Times recipes, and was a little skeptical about what I was reading, especially since it didn’t seem like anyone weighing in had actually made the recipe. So when this weekend’s dinner with friends involved a taco bar, there was no way we weren’t doing a taste test.
In the name of science, I made the Times recipe exactly as written, overcoming my usual tendency to hack the recipe (usually in the name of laziness). I roasted the jalapeño as directed, and whirred up a mixture of peas, jalapeños (roasted and raw), cilantro and salt, adding a big investment in labor with the use (and later cleaning) of the food processor.
I was never able to get the mixture “almost smooth”, but that didn’t seem to impact the end product. The rest of the recipe involves the usual mashing of avocados and addition of lime zest, lime juice, scallions and salt.
I then made my go-to guacamole, a literal mash-up of unmeasured amounts of avocado, onion, lime zest, lime juice, diced tomato, and salt.
The verdict? Unanimously in favor of the pea guacamole. There was a greater depth of flavor and brightness that was lacking in the control batch. This may have been due to the jalapeño, which was only included in the pea version. But no one could discernibly taste the peas. Which leads me to believe that perhaps the whole problem is nothing but a marketing issue. Leave the peas out of the garnish, and avoid the visual source of the objections. What you’re left with is a solidly bright, tasty guacamole.