Why in the world have I NOT been making guacamole all my life?
The answer, of course, is that I spent most of my life eating (or, more specifically, not eating) the mediocre guacamole served in so many Mexican restaurants.
Overprocessed into a perfectly smooth paste and refrigerated well past the point of freshness, restaurant guacamole has always been something I avoided. I never ordered it, and never considered making it at home.
Thankfully, a restaurant finally changed my mind on guacamole a couple of years ago. When a friend ordered the dish at Cantina Laredo, the server made it tableside, mashing several fresh ingredients together with a fork. It was delicious. It was chunky. It was FRESH.
I thought maybe it was only my taste buds maturing, so in a couple of weeks I tried the guacamole at another Mexican place. Nope. Back to stale and pasty. I realized that unless I witnessed the smashing of the avocados, the guacamole was likely to disappoint.
Still, I didn’t attempt to make my own. The husband wasn’t enthusiastic about the dish, and, having never dealt with avocados before, I was a little awed by the process.
Fast forward to last week. Somehow, guacamole is an official Super Bowl food, and Earth Fare was offering me two free avocados with a $5 purchase.
Please. I can spend $5 in Earth Fare without ever leaving the Wall o’ Grains.
I looked for a simple recipe, although now I realize that guacamole, like pico de gallo, is one of those dishes that doesn’t require a recipe so much as a healthy willingness to taste as you go. (Check.)
I settled on the California Avocado Commission’s recipe for Guacamole Autentico, which seemed beginner-worthy. It was a cinch to put together (turns out it’s extremely easy to work with avocados), and I thought it was delicious (the husband is still not a guacamole fan, although he readily ate a couple of bites to be nice).
Lime and cilantro are dominant flavors in this recipe, and not everybody likes cilantro. I would probably use two Serrano chilies instead of one next time for more heat, or I might just switch to a jalapeno. And I could totally live without the tasteless bits of Roma tomato, but a REAL tomato may have potential. I forgot to add hot pepper sauce, and I used plain old salt and pepper instead of sea salt and white pepper — still delicious. I mashed it all together with a potato masher, not a fork, because I was hungry and the fork method was taking forever. Just don’t get too overzealous with the mashing no matter what you use.
Recipe from the California Avocado Commission
- 2 ripe, fresh California avocados, peeled and seeded
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1⁄2 ripe, medium Roma tomato, seeded and diced
- 1⁄4 cup minced sweet white onion
- 1 Serrano chili, seeded and minced
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- Hot pepper sauce
- Sea salt, to taste
- White pepper, to taste
Cut avocado into large chunks and mash coarsely in large bowl with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and blend gently; leaving some small chunks is fine. Taste and adjust seasoning with more pepper sauce, salt and pepper if desired.
Serve immediately. Eat with enthusiasm.