Guacamole

Here’s a fun fact you may not know about me.  Guacamole is my favorite food.  Sadly, good guacamole is hard to find.  I know avocados aren’t cheap, but I still have a bit of sticker shock when I see the price of guacamole on restaurant menus.  Which is why I usually prefer to make guacamole and enjoy it in the comfort of my home.  If I’m being completely honest, I have been known to occasionally enjoy it for dinner…as the main course.  Don’t judge me.  You know you’ve thought about it.

My rendition of guacamole is inspired from Ina Garten’s recipe found in her first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  I’ve tweaked it a tiny bit, but it’s roughly the same.  Want to make some with me?

Wait, wait, wait.

Before we begin to make guacamole, we need to have a good talk to clear the air.  I feel the need to stand on my avocado soap box and address the renditions of guacamole that started with good intentions but didn’t deliver due to some very minor details.

1.  Don’t mix avocados with bottled salsa and call it guacamole.

2.  Don’t use those pre-packaged guacamole mix packets and expect fresh-tasting results.

3.  And don’t try to make guacamole using anything less than perfectly ripe avocados.

Ripe avocados are firm, but they will yield to slight pressure.  What do you do if you can only find rock-hard avocados but have a party in two days and are worried they won’t be ripe in time?  First remove the nubby thing from the stem end of the avocados.  Put the avocados in a brown paper sack.  Fold over the top of the sack and keep it somewhere warm {I like the top of my refrigerator}.  Check them everyday.  They should ripen right up.  If you end up with avocados that ripen before you need them, storing them in the fridge will halt the ripening process and buy you a day or two of extra time.

Moving on.

I totally support personal preferences and self-expression in guacamole.  Like tomatoes?  Great.  Add them.  Think it’s fun to add cilantro?  Cool.  Go for it.  Want to spice it up with jalapenos?  More power to you.  Customize your guacamole to your heart’s content.  But let’s agree on one thing.  Flavor should never be compromised, regardless of the list of ingredients.  Here’s what I mean…

Take a bite of raw avocado.  What do you taste?  Are you thinking, “I taste cool and creamy”?  Well, yes, avocados are both cool and creamy, but what do you taste?  That’s right.  You taste…nothing!  In the flavor category, avocados are at the bland end of the spectrum, kind of like potatoes and chicken.  This doesn’t mean the poor avocado is left to lead a hopelessly bland life.  {Think of how tasty mashed potatoes and fried chicken can be.}  But being bland does mean the avocado needs some powerfully strong flavor friends to help him shine…friends such as garlic, lemon juice, red onion, and salt.  Once the avocado is matched up with a few fiesty fellows, he takes on a whole new taste.  His coolness and creaminess compliment the pungent garlic, the astringent lemon, the zippy red onion.  And the salt makes it all sing.

There is one secret ingredient I haven’t mentioned yet, and in my humble opinion I think it’s the key to killer guacamole.  If I tell you, you have to promise to go forth and create only top-quality batches of guacamole from here on out.  Do you want to know what it is?

Tabasco.

There.  The truth is out.  The secret of great guacamole is now available for anyone who cares to use it.

However, there is an exact quantity of tabasco that when added to guacamole gives it a whisper of something you can’t quite put your finger on, but you know that you like it, so you take another bite thinking this time you’ll figure it out, and then you get distracted by all the other yumminess that’s happening in your mouth and you just stop trying to break the guacamole secret recipe code and enjoy the best guacamole you’ve ever tasted.  This is the effect you are going for.  Once you taste it, you’ll know it’s right.  Too little Tabasco, and it won’t make any difference.  Too much and you’re left with Tabasco-flavored avocado dip, which I do not endorse or suggest or ever care to taste.  I don’t even really like Tabasco, so it is saying a lot for me to label it as the guacamole secret weapon.

The last thing I will say about guacamole is technical in nature.  Avocados oxidize once they are cut, which means they turn brown.  The two things that keep guacamole from turning brown are fresh lemon juice and reducing the amount of air that hits the guacamole.  All the other “tricks” you’ve heard are just a bunch of hooey.  I don’t care who told you that putting the avocado pit into the guacamole will keep it green, but he/she is wrong.  If they want to debate this or any other how-to-keep-your-guacamole-green old wives’ tales, send them my way.

Here’s how I make guacamole.

Halve the avocados.

Remove the pits.

Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Add diced red onion, diced garlic, fresh lemon juice, kosher salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  Mix all the ingredients together with a knife, slicing up the flesh of the avocado as you go, then stir with a spoon to combine.

Once it’s mixed, I taste it with a chip…very important to use a chip so that you can take into account the saltiness of the chip and avoid over-seasoning the guacamole.

If it needs a bit more of something, I adjust it as needed until it’s perfect.

Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it to the surface of the guacamole, and set aside until party time.

If I am serving guacamole at a party, I make it about an hour before the party begins.  The fresh lemon juice helps to slow the oxidation process, as does using plastic wrap to cover the guacamole and pressing it onto the surface of the guacamole to keep the air out.  If you make it more than an hour ahead you are going to have a bit of browning.

I like to make huge batches of this stuff.  This batch I just showed you used 10 very large avocados.  I also have learned that if I set this out as an appetizer before dinner, there won’t be any left to use as a condiment during dinner.  So I’ve started saving the guacamole and serving it as a part of the main dinner.  Fajitas, beans, and guacamole.  Who needs rice anyway?

Hungry and ready to give it a go?  Click below for a printable version of the recipe.

{Guacamole}

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6 Responses to Guacamole

  1. Anika Magliocco says:

    Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, it ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.:

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  2. Nuria Gómez says:

    Hey! Who told you the secret about “Guacamole”? I can tell you´re an expert! And, this is the opinion of a “Mexican-Guacamole-lover”!

  3. Jane H. says:

    This guac sounds good! I love making guac for pretty much every gathering I have. I had no idea, but leaving the large seed/pit/whatchamacalit in the bowl helps keep it green too. The Frittses were over helping make a bowl of guac and they left them in…I started scooping them out got scolded. I tried it the next time and poof! It worked. Still green after a day!

    I love your blog! : )

  4. Rachelle says:

    Thanks for your blog. I have mad jet lag and need something to relax by.

  5. Stephanie Leggett says:

    Loved the blog! I can’t wait to try the Tabasco trick. I like to use lime juice an a touch of cumin. I think I got the idea from a restaurant that makes it table side.

  6. Pingback: The Calm Before the Party | katherine sasser

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