Last week, the week before Cinco de Mayo (or as my friend Elizabeth calls it – Cinco de Drinko), the kind folks at the Mexican Embassy sent a whole lot of avocados to my office. They were still a bit firm, but would be perfectly ripened in time for the weekend. I squirreled away six for myself, and then sent out a staff email letting my colleagues know that they could grab some as well. Now, I know that people like free EVERYTHING, but I was not prepared for the swarm that descended upon my desk. Within five minutes all of them were gone. And I still had folks stopping by for the rest of the day, only to be disappointed. I totally underestimated the popularity of avocado.
Of course I did the requisite research to figure out other things that I could use these gorgeous green fruits for, but I knew that I was also going to be making guacamole. There was really no way around it. The first time I ever wanted to make guacamole was after a visit to a Mexican restaurant here in DC where they make it at your table. They wheel this cart over to your table, loaded with everything you could possibly think of putting in guacamole, and then ask you what you want, how spicy, etc. I went there with my friend Daniel once and after they’d given us our giant lava rock bowl of green goodness, he exclaimed that he wanted a “guacamole tree and an avocado table.” My sentiments exactly.
I like my guac to be pretty standard and I don’t measure when I make it. I just chop, mix, and season until it tastes right. One of the fatal flaws of most guacamole is that it’s under-seasoned. When it comes to avocado, my personal thinking is that you almost can’t over-salt it. Of course I’m overstating that a bit, but the lesson is that you shouldn’t be shy with the salt. Just remember that you can always add, but you can’t take away. Season and taste until you’re happy with it. My list of guacamole ingredients with a basic method is below. The proportions depends on how much you’re trying to make and how big your avocados are. Just eyeball it, then grab yourself a bag of chips and enjoy!
Red onion, diced
Fresh garlic, finely minced
Jalapeno, finely minced
Fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper
Use a knife and cut the avocado in half – start at the top and slice in until you hit the pit, then continue slicing all the way around the pit until you get back to where you started. Gently hold each half and twist in opposite directions until they come apart. One half should still have the pit in it. I like to sort of stab it with a sharp knife and then twist it out. Keep the pit because you can use it later in the finished guacamole to help keep it from turning brown too quickly.
Scoop the soft flesh out of the skin with a spoon and place in a large bowl. Mash with a fork until it’s creamy, but leave it just a little bit chunky. Add the diced red onion, tomato, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno. Stir to combine. Juice the limes into the bowl and then season with salt and pepper. Stir again. Keep seasoning until it tastes just right. Stick the pit back in the bowl and serve with chips.