Sunday, July 25, 2010

Guacamole


Guacamole... the thought of it either makes people grimace ("Eww, green mush??") or salivate. I have to admit that I've only recently converted to the latter category. On a business trip a couple of years ago to Atlanta, we ate at a Mexican restaurant near our hotel. My coworker adamantly insisted that we order the guacamole, which was assembled table-side. I set aside my guaca-phobia and ate a bite; after all, I was raised with the idea that you should take "one big Girl Scout bite" of everything. And... I was in love. The creamy sweetness of the avocado, the slight heat of the chiles, and the tang of lime juice melded together into a heavenly, well-balanced blend.

But among the guacamole eaters of the world, the recipes vary greatly. What type of chile should be used? Is it okay to substitute lemon juice for lime juice? Cilantro or no cilantro? What about other add-ins?  What about consistency?
I'm no authority figure on the subject, but I like to think that my recipe is pretty tasty - and also adaptable. My guac is sans-cilantro, but you could easily add it in, or have a small bowl of chopped cilantro on the side, so that guests can add the herb to their own serving if they wish. I'm a strict lime-juice only girl because I prefer the flavor, but if you like lemon the swap can certainly be made. (I might use slightly less lemon juice, since it is more tart than lime juice.) And I'm certainly no purist; I tend to throw in tomato, garlic, and/or bell pepper, depending on what looks good at the market.  I like a chunky guac, so I mash it so that about 60% is smooth, and 40% is still chunky.

So, here's my take on this delicious green dip. Enjoy!

Guacamole
Click here for printable recipe

3 medium avocados
12-14 grape tomatoes, or one medium tomato of your choice
1/3 c. sweet onion, diced
1-2 jalapeƱo chiles
Juice of 1 lime
Salt & Pepper

Halve the avocados, being careful around the large pit. (Twist the two halves to free one half of the avocado from the pit. To remove the pit from the other half, whack the pit carefully with your knife. The knife should embed lightly into the pit; give the knife a gentle twist to free the pit from the fruit.) Score each avocado half into 1/4” to 1/2” sections, making sure to get through the flesh but not the skin, and scoop from the skin with a spoon. Transfer into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice to the avocado and mash with a fork to desired consistency.

Finely dice jalapeno, removing ribs and seeds. Dice the grape tomatoes. Add both, as well as sweet onion, to avocado mixture. Stir well to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

TIP: Disappointingly mild chiles?  Add a dash of cayenne pepper. 

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