Of the many Mexican contributions to the American diet, guacamole is among the most popular. While it has many uses, Americans most often enjoy guacamole as a hearty dip for corn chips or as a creamy topping on their favorite Mexican entrée. Guacamole’s mild flavor and subtle texture go well with countless foods and drinks, making it a perfect fit for any party or celebration.
The typical chunky style of guacamole familiar to most Americans is made by combining pressed avocados with a variety of diced vegetables, and seasonings. But due to avocados’ rich nature, a basic guacamole can be made entirely from mashed avocadoes seasoned with citrus juice, and salt.
The following recipe makes a fully loaded guacamole containing onions, tomatoes, peppers, and other ingredients for flavor and seasoning. But feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking. Also note that other than a detailed explanation on preparing jalapeños, this recipe contains no specialized discussion on chopping vegetables.
INGREDIENTS: Normally in this section, I include detailed measurements for each ingredient. But for the sake of convenience when shopping for produce, I am listing the quantities of each produce item directly below. Then, as each ingredient is discussed in the recipe, I will provide detailed measurements.
- 4 Avocadoes, medium
- 1 Onion, small
- 1 Green onions, bunch
- 1 Roma tomato, medium
- 1 Jalapeño
- 1 Garlic head
- 2 Limes
- 1 Cilantro, bunch
- Black pepper
- Kitchen knife
- Paring knife
- Large mixing bowl
- Spatula or scraper
- Masher or stiff wooden spoon
The two things to look for when shopping for ripe avocadoes are a dark skin, and a pliable body. Avocadoes start out bright green on the tree and are often picked and sold at that point. However, they are underripe and will be tough and fibrous. You may purchase these avocadoes now, but you will need to let them set a few days on the counter prior to use. As avocadoes ripen, the skin darkens. The skin of a ripe avocado will have a dark brown to an almost black color. Further, the flesh beneath the skin will yield to moderate pressure from your thumb.
As pictured above, the bright green avocado is under-ripe. When cut open, the flesh is firm and will not easily separate from the pit or skin. The skin of the middle avocado is much darker but, up close, still has hints of green. Its flesh is softer and smoother than the green avocado, but is still somewhat firm. The darkest skinned avocado pictured above is fully ripe. Its flesh is very soft with deep green and yellow hues. You may easily separate the flesh from the skin and pit, and its texture is not unlike slightly chilled butter. It is not necessary for the skin to be black. Rather, look for avocadoes with an evenly dark skin color and soft flesh.
To avoid purchasing avocadoes that are overripe, apply pressure with your thumb to the stem-end of the avocado. If you feel no resistance, as if there is an air pocket underneath, it is best to avoid that particular avocado.
STEP 5: PREPARE JALAPEÑOS. This particular recipe calls for one small to medium jalapeño to yield approximately one tablespoon chopped pepper. However, you may use any chili you prefer such as serranos, or habaneros.
This step, and the next two, describe how to specially cut a jalapeño to remove its heat and leave you with a mild guacamole. First, after washing, cut the chili’s top off about 1/4 inch below the stem.
STEP 6: SEED AND DE-RIB THE CHILI. To remove the heat from the jalapeño, you will need to remove the ribs and seeds. To do this, take a small knife and make a single straight cut from the top of the chili to its bottom tip. Spread the chili open to expose all the ribs and seeds. Then, insert the tip of the knife between the flesh of the chili and the pale green rib. Filet the rib off the chili and discard. Repeat for each rib. Wash underneath cold water, if necessary, to remove additional seeds that are sticking to the flesh.
STEP 7: DICE CHILIS. With the stem, ribs, and seeds removed, your jalapeño is now ready for adding flavor, but not heat, to your guacamole. Simply slice the jalapeño lengthwise, then cross-wise, for a small dice. Reserve.
STEP 12: PRESS THE AVOCADO. To the avocado halves, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and most of the lime juice. Then, with a potato masher or a stiff wooden spoon, press the avocadoes against the bowl until a semi-smooth texture is achieved. You now have a basic guacamole.
STEP 13: FOLD IN REMAINING INGREDIENTS AND SEASON. Now that the base is ready, simply fold in the remaining ingredients with a spatula or bowl scraper. Sample the guacamole and season with additional salt, pepper, and lime juice if needed. For a chunkier guacamole, add additional chopped vegetables. When the flavor meets your approval, serve.
SERVING GUACAMOLE: Guacamole may be served immediately, but must be refrigerated if stored. To minimize browning during refrigeration, reduce the guacamole’s exposure to air. Place it in an airtight plastic container and lay plastic wrap directly against its surface. Browning will still occur but will be minimal. If browning does appear, simply stir the guacamole to redistribute the ingredients prior to serving. If stored properly, fresh guacamole is good for three to four days.