Saturday, March 26, 2011

Holy Guacamole!

What's not to love about guacamole? Heart-healthy avocado is transformed into a rich, creamy, and delicious dip or garnish. I have been eating wonderful, simple homemade guacamole since childhood (thanks, Mom!), but this recipe is my husband's, adding a little pizzazz of texture and flavor to accentuate the avocado.



Here are the ingredients you will need:
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 to 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion (about 1/4 of a medium-sized onion)

The avocado is the star in this dish, and its ripeness is a huge factor in the resulting flavor and texture. I like to use Hass avocados because they are particularly creamy and buttery. There are two options for picking avocados:  If you are making guacamole immediately, then you will need to find ripe avocados in the store. To do this, gently squeeze the avocado in your hands. A perfectly ripe avocado will be firm overall yet give slightly to the touch. You should not be able to sink your finger into the flesh without significant pressure - this indicates over-ripeness, and the flesh of the avocado will be brown and mushy instead of bright green and firm. If the avocados are hard and resistant to pressure, they are under-ripe and will be bitter and difficult to mash. If you have some time before you are going to make your guacamole, you should buy these and let them ripen over a few days on your kitchen counter. Once the avocados have ripened place them in the refrigerator to stop the ripening process. A ripe avocado can stay fresh in the fridge for 5-7 days, but will eventually oxidize (turn black and mushy) under the skin. If this happens, you can still scrape the darkened spots away with a spoon, as the rest of the avocado will still be good, but the guacamole will end up more on the yellow side.

To make the guacamole, start with the onion, cilantro, and half of the chile, lime juice, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. (A great technique for this is to use a chef's knife to cut all the way around the long way, then twist to separate the two halves. Next, hold the half with the pit in your off hand and with the other, bury the knife a centimeter or two into the pit with a single whack. Twist and remove, then squeeze - not pull or push - the pit off the knife with two fingers.) Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin in pieces, being careful to scrape everything, as the very outermost part of the flesh has the majority of the green color and sweetness. Add the avocado to the bowl and mash until mostly smooth (a little chunkiness is ok) with a fork. Don't let the avocado flesh be exposed to the air for more than a minute or two before mixing it with the lime juice, or else it will oxidize. Taste the almost-done guacamole and add the remaining chile, salt, and/or lime juice as needed. Serve as a garnish for all your Mexican dishes or just as a great dip for tortilla chips! If you need to store this overnight (it rarely escapes immediate consumption in my house!) be sure to cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing down against the guacamole to remove all the air. Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. Be careful in mincing the serrano chile. though. Use moderately-sized knives that could cut through it without exerting much force.

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  2. There's a reason why you should not hastily cut those chile, one of them, of course, is appearance.

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