Perfect guacamole ready to be devoured.
Creamy, tangy, spicy, and just so damn good! Guacamole is simply the perfect food.
Like many people, I have been eating guacamole my whole life, and I have tried every variety imaginable, from the freshest and most delicious, to guacamole’s less fulfilling cousin “avocado dip.” But once I learned to make it the authentic Mexican way, there was no going back. On many occasions I have eaten guacamole and chips as a meal, and no, I’m not apologizing for it.
Guacamole has been enjoyed in Mexico for centuries, where pre-Columbian cultures like the Aztecs and Mayans ground local ingredients into sauces using a molcajete, a hand-carved basalt rock mortar and pestle. Now guacamole is enjoyed around the world, especially in my house!
Most guacamole recipes contain the same general ingredients: avocado, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime, jalapeño, and salt. Some recipes also call for cumin and hot sauce, and some less than authentic recipes even call for mayonnaise or sour cream (gasp!) It is really up to you to decide what to include, and you can even get creative by throwing in other ingredients, like some fresh pomegranate seeds for an unexpected burst of flavor and texture.
For me, it’s all about those first eight ingredients. And besides that, it’s all about the (extremely simple) preparation technique.
You see, if you just stir all those eight ingredients together, your guacamole will be pretty good. But you want your guac to be more than just good. You want people to taste it and say, “Holy crap, that is the best guacamole ever!” as you smile to yourself and think, “I know.”
Here’s the problem: stirring in the the onion, garlic, jalapeño and cilantro, does not allow the flavors to be fully incorporated in the guacamole. Sure, if you bite into a piece of onion, you will taste it, but you want the flavor to be mixed throughout. The remedy is surprisingly simple:
And the secret to the best guacamole ever is… salt! And specifically, when and how you use it. We know that salt draws moisture out of foods, right? Now lets make that work to our advantage. Once you have diced or minced your onion, jalapeño, garlic and cilantro, throw them in a bowl or molcajete and cover them with a generous amount of salt (enough to salt the entire bowl of guacamole) and stir it up. You will notice that within seconds, the mixture will start to get wet with all the flavorful juices being released. Let this sit for at least five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. If you have a molcajete or mortar and pestle,I highly recommend grinding this up into a beautiful, salty, juicy pulp. Now add your lime juice and set this aside. The flavors you just released will be the heart and soul of your guacamole. I am already hungry just thinking about this…
Diced onion, minced garlic, and diced jalapeño doused with salt to bring out the flavorful juices.
Salty juicy pulp of onion, jalapeño, garlic and salt, after resting for 5 minutes and then smashing in the molcajete. Smashing is optional but helpful.
Cilantro I smashed into a pulp using the molcajete. I forgot to add it to the onion mixture originally.
(Remember to not include the tomatoes in the above step, as salting them would make them soggy).
Avocados cut in half lengthwise.
Here comes the fun part-mashing the avocados! Now is a perfect time to ask a kid to help you. They love smashing up the slimy green avocado, and will be more interested in eating it if they participate in the preparation. Toss the avocado flesh in a bowl or molcajete and smash until it is as smooth as you like it (I like mine on the smooth side). You can use a fork, potato masher, or any other kitchen tool you want.
Avocados mashed to the perfect texture.
Now just throw in your juicy, salty onion/garlic/jalapeno/cilantro/lime mixture with the mashed avocados and stir until well combined. Finally, add the diced tomatoes and test for salt. Guacamole requires a good amount of salt, but remember–if you are eating it with salty chips, be careful to not over-salt the guac.
The finished product. Yum!
You can store this in the fridge or just eat it right away. Letting it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour can help the flavors meld even more. If you do store it, be sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the guacamole so there is no air to make it oxidize. There is nothing appetizing about brown guacamole!
Time to eat! Devour your guac with chips, tacos, burritos, on a sandwich, with eggs, or just by the spoonful. But remember, guacamole disappears fast, so if you want to serve some with a meal as well as with appetizers, be sure to stash a good amount for later.
If you have the luxury of being able to use a molcajete to make this, I highly recommend it. The molcajete imparts a subtle difference in flavor and texture, making the final product simply amazing. It is also a perfect serving dish and a wonderful way to pay homage to the ancient Aztecs, who used molcajetes to make their guacamole, (or ahuaca-mulli, as they called it). As I grind things up in my molcajete, I like to think of all the people centuries back who made amazingly delicious dishes with this same tool. But luckily for me, I can fantasize about being an ancient Aztec chef without worrying about being sacrificed to the gods. Yay!
Enjoy! Please leave me comments and questions.
Guacamole served with some blue corn chips, tostadas, and beer. What more could one ask for?
Some interesting facts:
- Avocado comes from the Aztec word, ahuacatl, which means “testicles.” Not so hard to figure out why… It is also supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Pass the guac.
- Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats and no cholesterol. I don’t think tortilla chips have “healthy fats” in them though.
- The correct Spanish pronunciation of the word “guacamole” does not contain a hard G sound or an “eee” sound at the end. It sounds more like “wacamoleh.” But say it however you want.
- 1/4 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more, if necessary)
- 1-3 teaspoons of freshly-squeezed lime juice (not bottled)
- 2-3 large avocados, seeded and flesh scooped out
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- Combine first four ingredients in a bowl or molcajete, stir, and let sit for five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. If using a molcajete, mash up this mixture into a pulp after 5-10 minutes.
- Add lime juice to mixture and stir. Set aside.
- Place avocado flesh in a bowl or molcajete, and mash to desired consistency using a pestle, fork or potato masher.
- Add the salted mixture into the mashed avocados and stir. Add diced tomatoes and stir. Taste and add more salt and/or lime juice if desired.
- Serve immediately or store in the fridge, covered tightly, for 30 minutes to an hour to let flavors meld. To store, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the guacamole to ensure no air remains. Enjoy with chips, tacos, or anything else!
Note: You can adjust the ratio of ingredients to your liking. I don’t normally measure, so this is just a general idea of the amounts of each ingredient.