Recently, we published a 1980s recipe for the Avocado Zapata from Los Tres Lobos, a long gone Austin eatery. We rescued it from the book “Ellie Rucker’s Almanac.” The late American-Statesman columnist often published recipes from readers’ favorite restaurant dishes.
Afterward, we heard from James Wilsford, who shares a different path to fried avocado goodness.
“I enjoyed reading your column about Ellie Rucker and Los Tres Bobos. I met Ellie Rucker since I was friends with her daughter, Allison, with whom I waited tables at the County Line on the Lake.
“However, prior to that, I was the fry cook at Los Tres Bobos that prepared the Avocado Zapata for several years and have to tell you that your recipe, although probably tasty, is not the same as we made them.
“First, instead of nuts, we used crushed peanut brittle, and we added a little cheese to the mix to help is stick together along with the egg. The meat mixture was made with cold leftover taco meat because, if you try it with hot taco meat, it will not stick together and you get an exploded avocado zapata in the fryer.
“The avocados are formed ahead of time so that they can cool and congeal. The wet batter used was one egg, one cup of milk and one cup of butter milk. The dry batter was one part flour, one part Bisquik, with a little salt and a lot of black pepper.
“It was usually double battered so as to avoid the aforementioned exploding Avocado Zapata. Your creole sauce is essentially correct. I have made this over the years for groups of friends and for parties but it makes a mess to do it like they do in the restaurant so, I usually make it for a dozen avocados which give you two dozen “zaps.”
“Like many recipes that get printed, there are variations, either from a chef’s personal taste or a more convenient way to make something but that also accounts for why sometimes things just do not have the same zing when prepared at home and you are wondering what the small trick was that gave it that special flavor.”