Thursday, September 4, 2008

Guacamole, Three Ways

I love avocados. On anything and everything. Sandwiches, salads, just sprinkled with salt. LOVE THEM! There is nothing else in the world like a perfectly ripe avocado.

Of course the most common way people eat avocados in the US is in guacamole. I love it, and I have three VERY easy recipes to make it. I can't pick a fave among them because they all suit different moods and tastes.

No matter which guacamole style you like, it can and will turn brown if exposed to air. To make guac ahead of time and keep it fresh and bright looking, you need two things: acid (from the lime juice) and plastic wrap, pressed TIGHTLY onto the surface of the guacamole. Putting the pit from the avocado into the dish is a useless old wives tale. Never make guacamole in a metal bowl.

Do not, under any circumstances, use "Slimcados" or Florida avocados for guacamole. They have a higher water content, which makes them lower in fat and fine for sandwiches and salads, but also makes watery guacamole rather than creamy. NOT GOOD!

How to tell if your avocado is ripe? First of all, a Hass avocado will be black when it is ripe, but it can be black without being ripe. Press your thumb into it. If it leaves a SLIGHT depression, it's perfect. If it feels soft and mushy or lightweight for its size (which means it's close to rotten!), skip it. Over-ripe avocados are as bad as under-ripe ones. If all you can get are under-ripe ones but you have a couple of days, put them in a paper bag on the counter and they will ripen in about two days.

Simple Perfect Guacamole:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Blend all three ingredients until smooth or just mash with a fork for a chunkier guac. THAT'S IT! I first had this simple guacamole at a Mexican restaurant in Clarksburg, WV (yes, WV) in 1999 and fell in love with it. It's amazing - don't let the simplicity fool you. Of course, you can multiply this as much as you like. Two avocados and one lime makes enough for an accompaniment for a fajita dinner for six.

Easy Spicy Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun/Creole Seasoning (try Tony Chachere's, Emeril's Essence or Zatarains)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves, optional

Again, blend until smooth or mash with a fork. Taste and adjust as needed.

Loaded Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed well with a fork
  • 1 plum tomato, with seeds removed, diced
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly, white and light green parts only
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (for spicer flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt (if NOT using Creole seasoning!)
After mashing avocado well, blend in lime juice, Creole seasoning or salt and garlic. Gently mix in diced tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper and cilantro leaves.

1 comment:

Lyndy said...

I agree - avocados are the BEST! But I've heard it for many years to not make guac in a metal bowl but never knew why "not"! Can you tell me? Thanks.