Miso Guacamole

First of all: just try it. I’ll wait.

  • 3-4 small to medium avocados
  • 1/2 small white or red onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or grated
  • 1/2 lime (more to taste)
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1 T white (shiro) miso paste (more to taste)
  • 1 t soy sauce (more to taste)

Squeeze out the avocado like this. Put everything in a small mixing bowl and mash with a fork until you have an appealingly chunky paste. Adjust lime and salt/soy to taste.

OK. It’s good, right? That’s the whole story, pretty much. Last summer, I grabbed a few avocados with the intention of making guacamole, and sometime in the typical three-day ripening arc of grocery store avocados, I spied a container of white miso that a friend had abandoned since crashing at our house. Lightning flashed, and this unholy union was born. I tinkered with it basically all summer, until I came up with a version that tasted like my initial, imagined fusion of guacamole and miso paste.

The word “fusion” is really the only part of this idea that gives me pause. Maybe it’s just that fusion food is largely unfashionable right now (although that’s not totally true—word to Roy Choi and the Kogi social media masterminds). But I think there’s more to my hesitation. First of all, I don’t focus primarily on Japanese and/or Mexican food, by heritage or professional training. Same is true just about all cuisines, for that matter. In that same vein, I don’t think of ingredients or recipes in terms of cuisines—I’m not some genius modernist cook that eschews distinct, culturally legible dish ideas, but I do swap out ingredients without regard for “authenticity” pretty much constantly. I guess that’s a distinct privilege of well-off eaters and cooks in the global North. Even focusing on marrying two (or more) cuisines feels limiting when the alternative is virtually unimpeded access to ingredients and techniques from every part of the Earth where the word “globalization” has been uttered. Weird.

Regardless of my ambivalence toward fusion cooking, this is undeniably a fusion dish. Even if, on the cooking end, the shiro miso is stripped of its cultural context by my clumsy instrumentalist use of ingredients, it could still rub a Japanese or Mexican eater the wrong way. And that’s fair.

But seriously. Try it.

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