- Veggo Dec 6, 2006 01:27 AM
I am new here, and I read with a sense of malaise how many good people are searching for a good guacamole for their table and their guests; a quandary most recently complicated by the Kraft guacamole fiasco I read about here.
The perfect "guac" is simple but elusive. Elusive first:
1) Haas avocadocos. Period. Pear shaped, greenish-black, textured. Not shiny in original form. If they are shiny in your market, they have been waxed to keep them "fresh" longer, but it generally means they are rotting from within. Beware orangy-yellowish- brownish flesh. Avocados in the market ready to eat are called "para hoy" (for today), otherwise you have to nurture them at home until they are ready. Don't oversqueeze along the way.
2) Avocado, "aguacate" in spanish, is almost unique in an unfortunate respect in that it cannot be refrigerated (rots and loses all flavor within hours) and cannot be heated (rots and becomes chemically toxic in minutes). The myth about the seed..myth.
3) Have 50% more avocados than you think you need, because one third of the flesh will be unusable when you cut into them. No black, no brown, no yellow flesh, spoon it out or dump that whole fruit. The essence of good guacamole is good ripened fruit. That is 90% of your finished product. One yellowish or orange fruit will ruin an otherwise perfect batch. You will know when you have a good one; scoop out the marvelous deep green coating inside the rind for extra color and flavor.
4) Cut them, of course, to the pit around the oblate equator with a sharp paring knife into two hemispheres and pop out the seed, then scoop. Your hands remain clean.
5) Mash the pieces (or halves, if you are good with a spoon) with a fork on a plate and add fresh squozen lime juice, salt, and finely minced chilis or salsa picante to taste. Maybe a bit of cilantro. Don't overpower the avocado and lime flavors with the salsa. Salt should vary depending whether you are serving it with salted or unsalted tortilla chips, but it begs for salt. Serve immediately and at room temperature. All the recipes I saw with mayonnaise, mustard, extraneous spices, trash fillers and extenders, deviate from the genuine article. Sometimes I add a mashed roma tomato and reserve its juice to control the texture of the end product. It is a lucious, living, short-lived delicacy that should not be bought in a refrigerated container, if you have any respect for your guests or yourself. I welcome feedback from guac afficionados. For the many years that I lived in the Yucatan, guacamole and rock-and-roll-ee were my daily sustenance!
I agree - the molcajete is key to bring out the flavors. My version calls for first crushing a clove of garlic, chopped jalapenos or serranos, salt, and a little cilantro together. Next, the avocados. Then, like you, I add a little more cilantro, diced onion, and fresh lime juice.
There must be a difference in avocadoes between U.S. and Mexico, even though they both look Haas-ish. The DH and I were in Mexico last winter, and I ordered guacamole at every lunch and dinner; it was first rate every time, and included only avocado, lime juice, and salt. The avocado flavor was intense. I simply do not get that intensity of flavor when I make guac heere at home.
I would bet that the main reason you are not getting the flavor you want is because your supermarket is "holding" the ripened avocados in the refrigerator prior to selling them to ensure they always have a supply of ripe ones on hand.
I was furious when I figured out that my local Gelson's was doing this. I rarely buy ripe avocados anymore for this reason. Buy them unripe (better chance that they've never been refrigerated) and ripen them yourself.
Alternatively, find a good market that knows how many ripe avocados to have on hand at a given time and does not refrigerate. Our old Mayfair did this (the market that was my favorite before Gelson's took it over), and they always had beautiful and delicious avocados. Natural food markets often have very good avocados, too. Some of the best avocados I've found in the Los Angeles area over the years have been from Wild Oats Market.
That's what I do too - buy then when they're unripe. That way I don't get any bruising and my avocados ripen blemish-free.
This thread is interesting. I can see being a guacamole purist and preferring it with just lime juice and salt, but I'm curious about the idea that that is the only 'traditional' way. The Aztecs grew both onions and tomatoes. Diane Kennedy mentions that her classic recipe is one that she first came across 50 years ago in Mexico (it includes chiles, cilantro, onions, and tomatoes), and that different regions have always had different versions. In our frequent travel to Mexico (my husband is Mexican), I've eaten many variations - both 'with' and 'without'. Really, I am just curious, I'm certainly no historical guacamole expert. ;)
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IMNSHO it's a sacrilege to do anything that would sully the lovely greeness of guacamole. That means no tomato, and no red-colored salsa. Green salsa and/or green salsa picante are OK additions in judicious moderation. I keep a little bottle of green hotsauce in the fridge exclusively dedicated to avocados.
Also, it is a crime against guacamole to add anything that detracts from the silken sensuous texture -- I'm talking about chunks of onion or tomato, or cilantro leaves. A few very fine shreds of onion, though, help kick in a whiff of flavor.
And while I'm on a roll here, I think garlic is too, well, garlicky and has no place in any avocado venues.
That's it. Class dismissed.
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