Sunday, February 15, 2009

Authentic Guacamole

You can find a whole smorgasbord of recipes for guacamole without having to search very long or hard. From this assortment, you will find an extreme range--from loaded with too many ingredients to a simple lackluster puree of avocado. You need to look through them carefully to actually have an end product that you are happy to eat and serve to others.

Cook's Illustrated, my all-time favorite cooking magazine, has a great, authentic guacamole. Well, I'm not one to judge what is actually authentic or not when it comes to guacamole since I grew up in a very Midwestern family who indulged in meat and potatoes kind-of meals. I will, however, take Cook's word for the authentic part and trust my own taste buds when it comes to the rest.

This is the guacamole recipe that I have been making for years, and without fail, it makes a perfectly delicious hors d'oeuvres or accompaniment to any and all Mexican cuisine.


3 medium-sized, ripe avocados (preferably Haas)
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno chile, minced (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime


1. Mix together onion, garlic, jalapeno (if using), cilantro, salt, and cumin in medium bowl.

If you are using jalapeno chiles, one way to control the heat is to remove the seeds and inner flesh. My husband and I like the jalapenos added; my children don't. I will prepare and mince the jalapenos, but not add them into the mix. I will later divide the guacamole into separate containers and make one a spicy version by adding the jalapenos then. To remove the seeds, just slice your jalapeno in half (I have two additional jalapenos for something else I was making at the same time)....

...and then cut the seeds and inside flesh out with a knife. Continue to mince from here.
The rest of the guacamole is up to the avocados. Good guacamole depends on good, ripe avocados since they are the primary ingredient. Make sure your avocados have a dark green to purply black skin color and the fruit yields to a gentle squeeze when placed in the palm of your hand, indicating it is ripe.

2. Half one avocado. The pit will remain in; simply grab hold and slightly twist it out. If you have any resistance, use a fork or knife if necessary.

Notice my avocado has some brown spots on it. Ideally, the inside of your avocado should be blemish-free. I bought a bag of 5-6 avocados from Costco and all of them looked like this when they were cut open. Unfortunately, there is nothing to do about the bruising. Avocados bruise easily and if you are planning on eating them as is, these bruises would be a real bummer and would need to be cut out. When used in guacamole, cutting them out is not necessary....don't worry about your avocado's brown spots.

3. Flip your avocado over and begin at one end and lift the peel off. It should come off easily and without much resistance.

4. Slice each avocado half in one direction and then the other to dice.

5. Place avocado in bowl with other ingredients and immediately add lime juice. In addition to bruising easily, avocados also brown easily when exposed to air. The acid in the lime will help control further browning, so work quickly to get your diced avocado into the mixing bowl and covered in lime juice.

6. Mash avocado with the tines of a fork until just combined.

7. Half, pit, and dice the remaining two avocados and immediately add to mashed mixture. Gently stir avocados into mixture. I like my guacamole chunky and leave these additional avocados unmashed. You may stir and mash to your desired consistency. Serve with chips and enjoy!

If you will not be eating your guacamole immediately, you will need to store it appropriately or it will turn brown. To store, divide guacamole into containers, garnish with a pinch of red onions and cilantro, and pound the container on the table several times.

9. Top with a sheet of cling wrap and press directly onto the top of the guacamole, making sure that the entire surface gets sealed from air.

10. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Click here for printable version of this recipe.

2 comments: said...

Your guac looks awesome!

Four For France said...