Home-made guacamole is one of those things I stumbled onto recently and wondered why I hadn't been doing it this whole time. And I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was afraid to get it wrong. Having been raised by a mayonnaise denouncing mother and a father who once told me a really gross story from his childhood about a glass of milk, creamy textures make me all kinds of nervous. Guacamole, yogurt, the inside of a deviled egg: these are all things to be eaten quickly before I start thinking too hard about what's in them. Preferably in the same bite as something crunchy so that my tongue has something to focus on.
Like so many things though, a better understanding of guacamole can make it whole lot less scary. There's nothing icky in there; just vegetables! Unlike homemade cheese or- shudder- mayonnaise, which could so easily go so horribly, horribly wrong, there just isn't a way to mess up guacamole. It might end up too spicy or tangy for your personal taste, but it's never going to be unrecognizably different from what you originally had in mind. And- if you make it yourself, you know what's in there, and more importantly what's not in there. Sweeteners, preservatives, artificial coloring, the spit of an angry restaurant worker: those are the real enemies, not the slightly soapy texture of a nice, ripe, healthy avocado.
You don't need a recipe to make great guacamole every time, just a small list of ingredients and a working knowledge of your own preferences for the proportions of these things. While it isn't going to keep for very long, it's easy enough to whip up in small batches that will get used right away.
- Ripe avocados (there are 2 used in the guacamole in the picture, for an idea of how much it yields)
- About 1 medium-sized red onion for every 4 avocados
- About 1 medium-sized, ripe tomato for every 2 avocados (Get a tomato that's high in acid, since that's a great complement to the texture of the avocado.)
- A clove or two of garlic, optional
- Salt, black pepper, hot pepper, and/or other spices, depending on what you're into
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Chop up your tomatoes, onions, and garlic, and set them aside.
- If you don't know how to chop up an avocado, here's the easiest way I've found: Cut it in half lengthwise and remove the pit. The ones in the picture were almost overripe, and so the pit came out very easily. With a less ripe avocado, the pit will still be clinging to the meat. In this case, swing a large knife into the center of the pit and twist 90 degrees, then pull the knife back out, and the avocado pit should come with it.
- Next, take your knife and make a patchwork of cuts about 1/4 inch square all the way to the skin like so:
- Now push on the part of the skin the sticks out the most in order to flip the avocado half inside out. Scrape the meat into a bowl.
- Now all that's left to do is put the rest of your ingredients in the bowl on top of the diced avocado and mix it all together for some fresh guacamole that's ready to go on chips, tacos, or even a sandwich.