While we mostly eat guacamole during spring and summer when Southern California is bursting with fresh, local avocados, I couldn’t resist digging through the large pile of perfectly ripe Haas avocados at the grocery store the other day. I guess I can thank the Superbowl for that!
Why is homemade guacamole so often reserved for special occasions and social gatherings? Considering that avocados are really good for you and fresh guacamole is so delicious and easy to prepare, I think it makes a perfect afternoon snack. In fact I love making small batches just for me!
Worried about calories? You should know by now that the avocados are filled with the good fats your body needs. And you don’t always have to always eat guacamole with deep-fried tortilla chips (although that’s still my preferred method of getting guac into my mouth). Instead, try serving it with Whole Wheat Pita Chips and you’ll have a filling, nutritious snack to get you through the afternoon.
After years of making overly complicated but average tasting batches of guacamole, I finally realized something. Guacamole is best left simple and fresh. Avocado, onion, chile, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper are the only ingredients needed. Nothing dried or powdered, no extra spices, no secret ingredients. I don’t even add garlic. And to me, this is the best tasting guacamole around.
The method is simple.
First prep your ingredients: remove the stem and seeds from a fresh serrano chile (or jalapeno) and then mince it. The seeds and white membrane inside the chile hold the majority of the heat, removing them keeps the guacamole from being too spicy. Make sure not to touch your eyes after handling the fresh chile pepper!
Next, remove the thick stems from half a bunch of cilantro and put the leaves in a pile.
Run your knife back and forth through the pile of leaves until the cilantro is finely chopped. You should end up with about three tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro.
Next, mince one quarter of a red onion. You should end up with about 1/4 cup minced onion (to learn the best method for chopping an onion, read this post).
Squeeze the juice of one lime into a small bowl. You’ll need about two tablespoons of juice.
Prep work is finished, now you’re ready to make the guacamole! Cut your avocados in half and remove the large seed.
Use a big spoon to remove the avocado from it’s skin, it should come out easily if the avocado is ripe (and it better be ripe!).
Put all four halves of peeled avocado into a medium bowl and add a tablespoon of lime juice. Mash it all up with a fork, making it as chunky or smooth as you want. The lime juice adds flavor, but also keeps the avocado from turning an ugly brown color, which is why I have you add some of the juice at this point.
Once the avocado is mashed, stir in the onion, chile, cilantro, salt, and a dash or two of fresh ground black pepper. Taste the guacamole and add enough of the remaining lime juice to taste. I like lots of lime juice, so I use most of it! Keep tasting and adjusting seasonings until you get it right or the guacamole is gone!
Homemade guacamole is simple to make and tastes so much better than the store-bought varieties, you’ll soon be wheeling your cart right past those plastic tubs of green goop without a second glance. Enjoy!
2 ripe Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup minced red onion (about 1/4 of an onion)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
scant 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
In a medium bowl, mash together avocado halves and one tablespoon of lime juice with a fork. Add chile, cilantro and onion and mix well. Add salt, pepper, and remaining lime juice to taste.
Yield: about four servings
Recipe Notes: I find this guacamole to be only mildly spicy, but If you would like less spice, start with only half of a chile and make sure to remove all the seeds and white membrane before mincing. If you would like a very spicy guacamole, leaves the seeds in and/or use more chiles. And of course, all ingredients can be adjusted to suit your own taste!
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