Let me start by saying that this is a recipe for guacamole the way I like to eat it. Not too chunky, definitely not too smooth, bright with lime juice, and not a tomato or garlic clove in sight. That’s right — I like to leave out the garlic and diced tomato you sometimes find in other recipes because I want the avocado to be the star. In fact, I find the addition of garlic, even in small amounts, tends to overpower the delicate flavor of a good avocado. So, what makes my version so unique? Nothing special, really. Just a few basic techniques that I find produce a perfectly textured, beautifully balanced guac that is as good as a dip with chips as it is a condiment on burritos, tacos and enchiladas.
My guacamole starts with ripe avocados — not the hard, vegetal tasting variety that you’re likely to find when they’ve just been delivered to your local supermarket. With avocado prices what they are these days, in my opinion, it’s not worth the time or money to make guacamole unless you can find soft-ripe, buttery avocados to do so with. This sometimes takes some careful planning, giving slightly under-ripe specimens the appropriate time needed to reach the proper level of ripeness. Next, I give my guacamole a nice, healthy dose of freshly squeezed lime juice for a clean, citrusy note and finely minced serrano chiles and “deflamed” red onion for a bit of heat and textural contrast. Finished with a bit of chopped cilantro and a good dash of salt and I’m left with a true a crowdpleaser.
This recipe doubles easily, so next time you have a group of friends coming over or are tasked with the duty of bringing a dip to your next potluck, throw out a bowl of this guacamole and watch it disappear.
Good guacamole starts with soft-ripe avocados. Make sure to look for avocados that yield slightly when gently pressed on their rounded blossom end. Even the most perfect avocados can have a few dark spots here and there, so be sure to remove those once you get the flesh out of their skins. Tossing the diced avocado in the lime juice will prevent oxidation from occurring while you prepare your other ingredients. Be careful not mash the avocado during this step however, or you will be left with smooth puree by the time you’ve had a chance to incorporate your other ingredients. Everyone’s tastes are different — if you are not a fan of red onion or cilantro, feel free to leave them out. If you like diced tomatoes in your guac, add them in with the chiles before bringing everything together. If you decide to make the guacamole earlier in the day, store it in the refrigerator by laying a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dip to avoid that brown color that comes from oxidation.
- 3 large (about 1 1/2 pounds) soft-ripe avocados
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (from about half of a large lime)
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (from about half of a small onion)
- 1 – 2 serrano chiles, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, lightly packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Begin by slicing each avocado in half, running your knife around the pit from stem to blossom end. Remove the pit from each avocado by gently lodging the heel of your blade into them and twisting slightly to break them free from the flesh. Making sure not slice through the skin, carefully score each avocado half in a 1/2-inch crosshatch pattern. Using a large spoon, gently scoop the flesh out of each half into a large bowl.
- Pour the freshly squeezed lime juice over the diced avocado and gently fold to coat each piece. You’re not looking to mash the avocado at this point, just toss it with lime juice to prevent oxidation.
- Scoop the finely diced red onion into a strainer and rinse it under cold running water to remove some of its pungency. Drain the onion well before throwing it in on top of the diced avocado in the bowl. Do not stir to incorporate at this point.
- Toss in the minced chiles, chopped cilantro and salt. Stir, lightly mashing the avocado with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula until all the ingredients are well incorporated and you’ve reached your desired texture/consistency. Allow the guacamole to sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature in order for the flavors to come together. Taste for salt and acidity, adjusting as necessary.
- Serve at room temperature for optimal flavor.
Makes about 2 cups