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In search of a better guacamole

m
mocro Sep 27, 2009 12:54 PM

I just made some guacamole and came to the horrible realization that my guac is "meh" at best. I've never really followed a recipe - just avocado, chopped tomato + onion, lime juice, salt, cilantro.

I had an awesome guac at the Encore in Vegas a couple of weeks ago. It was delicious and smoother than the chunky variety I make and and really, really green. Maybe too much so - who knows what made it so green, but it was delicious. My guacamole is pale green as are my avocados.

I'm starting to think the fault is w/my avocados - not very flavorful. We're blessed w/an abundance of avocados in SoCal and I buy mine (Haas I believe - pebble-skinned) at the grocery store or Costco. Could someone please educate me as to whether there's an avocado with more flavor? Thanks so much.

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  1. todao RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 01:15 PM

    Avocados is one of the fruits that never ripens on the tree. They only ripen after they're harvested. They need to be stored at room temperature (never in the refrigerator) somewhere between about 65 & 75 degrees is ideal.
    Haas avocados are, IMO, superior to most others for flavor and texture. Avocados are usually broken down by groups, based upon where they're grown. Mexican avocados (with smooth skins) are preferred by some; I prefer the Haas. But they have to be fully ripe or they're unworthy of using in any recipe. They ripen from the large end of the fruit toward the stem. So if the stem is soft the fruit may well be over-ripe.
    Refrigerating avocados changes their molecular structure and, once refrigerated, they will never ripen; they'll just soften as they age until they become rotted. If you got hold of an avocado that had been refrigerated you didn't have a change to make a decent guacamole.
    Your recipe doesn't include garlic. IMO, guacamole without garlic is like a bath without water. I might also add a touch of Cumin.

    1. v
      Val RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 01:32 PM

      Hi, mocro...we have Florida-style avocados here that I believe are the Fuerte variety but to me, Hass avocados are KING. I agree with todao...the avocado needs to be just ripe for the guac and please DO add fresh crushed garlic! There have been many fun discussions and threads of the 'proper guacamole' on this board. Perhaps try it next time with the fresh garlic and see if it helps, also making sure that your fruit is ripe before preparing.

      1. v
        vcavett RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 01:34 PM

        I'm not a fan of garlic in guacamole, but I do love to add finely diced ripe jalapeno peppers.

        3 Replies
        1. re: vcavett
          v
          Val RE: vcavett Sep 27, 2009 01:37 PM

          hmmmm...that would make it greener, to be sure, as mocro is seeking.

          1. re: vcavett
            todao RE: vcavett Sep 27, 2009 01:37 PM

            Chopped black or green olives are good too. I've even had some with finely chopped (almost to a powder) bacon bits that I didn't find any reason to complain about.

            1. re: vcavett
              BobB RE: vcavett Sep 29, 2009 07:21 AM

              Definitely no garlic, it overpowers the delicate avocado. I prefer serrano peppers to jalapeƱos in guac.

            2. shaogo RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 01:42 PM

              Don't compare *your* guacamole results, regardless of the avocadoes, to that of a restaurant.

              There are companies that're now providing peeled, mashed avocado product (as well as slices) in cryovac to restaurants. They're perfectly ripened, but the color is then "locked in" by using chemicals.

              I've been given complimentary samples of these "prepared" avocado products for my restaurant, and although they're quite tasty (and *very* eye-appealing), these products are nowhere near as good as the (sometimes homely-looking) fresh product.

              1. enbell RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 03:00 PM

                Here is Rick Bayless' take on guac, I have done this with and without the mango. If I omit the mango I will sometimes add some garlic. I really think the red onion makes a difference. What type of onion do you use?
                http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/vie...
                Here is one more
                http://www.yumsugar.com/3103500
                Have you tried the one from Chow?
                http://www.chow.com/recipes/10647
                Other search results
                http://search.chow.com/search?query=g...

                1. mcel215 RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 03:11 PM

                  I make my own version too, without a recipe. But, I do make sure that my avacadoes sit on the counter for a few days or even longer hoping they will aid in my quest for perfect guacamole.
                  My recipe is short, not standard, but I get lots of requests to bring it to many parties, etc.

                  2 Hass avacadoes (very ripe)
                  1 clove of garlic
                  1/2 half of red onion
                  1 lemon
                  kosher salt
                  black pepper
                  In a mini food processer add peeled garlic and chunked red onion. Pulse until finely
                  minced.
                  In a bowl, mash avacadoes with a fork, add salt and pepper. I would say start with 1 teaspoonful of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper. Add onion, garlic mixture, stir. Add 1/2 - 1 lemon (juice) and mix. Taste. Adjust seasoning.

                  And here is Tyler Florence's Guacamole, which gets high marks and rave reviews.

                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

                  Good luck, have fun and try all kinds of ways. It gets better with practice.

                  1. folprivate RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 03:15 PM

                    I use Alton Brown's recipe but substitute lemon for the lime. I chop and don't mash my guacamole. Spicy tangy and doesn''t seem like baby food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: folprivate
                      v
                      Val RE: folprivate Sep 27, 2009 03:20 PM

                      Yep, I like mine with some texture too, not totally pureed---each to his/her own!

                    2. f
                      fern RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 05:11 PM

                      I wonder if it could be as simple as using more salt? Maybe more lime (or try lemon)? I make mine much like yours, sans tomato. It's delicious. Try your own recipe again, just zap it up a bit.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: fern
                        hotoynoodle RE: fern Sep 27, 2009 05:44 PM

                        my same thoughts. especially the salt. people would be astonished if they knew how much salt goes into every restaurant dish.

                        also the tomatoes may be diluting your flavor. the color contrast looks nice, but maybe try skipping it.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                          t
                          torty RE: hotoynoodle Sep 29, 2009 09:57 PM

                          I am so with you guys in this. Keep it simple, make sure you have enough salt, and maybe maybe if it is still not right add some onion juice. (fresh)

                          1. re: torty
                            BobB RE: torty Sep 30, 2009 05:41 AM

                            Depends on your taste. I never add ANY salt to my guacamole because even a little makes it seem too salty. Which is weird, because in general I love salt, but in guac (to my palate) it just detracts from the creamy sweetness of the avocados.

                      2. ipsedixit RE: mocro Sep 27, 2009 10:16 PM

                        I like to add a bit of wasabi powder to my guacamole.

                        If I can't find wasabi powder, I'll use equal parts mustard powder and horseradish.

                        1. g
                          gphill RE: mocro Sep 28, 2009 03:13 AM

                          A little thing we do is to cut the avocados in half removing the seed and then placing on the grill face down on low heat until grill marks appear. Remove and proceed as usual. This imparts a slight smokey flavor which we like.

                          1. Soop RE: mocro Sep 28, 2009 03:48 AM

                            Best thing to do is start with the avocado, and then add each other ingredient bit by bit to taste. I don't add a lot of tomato, more chile, garlic, lime and salt.

                            1. beelzebozo RE: mocro Sep 28, 2009 05:56 AM

                              if your avocados are a nice green but it's still coming out a bit drab--and you don't mind your guacamole being fully processed--i'd suggest using a food processor to blend in a whole mess of parsley. you could use cilantro, but in this case i think parsley would have less of an effect on the end flavor of your guacamole, and that much cilantro might be a bit overpowering. i've done this before, and people were pretty stunned at how gorgeous it came out.

                              i agree with other posters about the amount of salt and pepper that needs to go into this, as well as any other dip, really. be generous, be bold.

                              i also enjoy adding some fresh ground mexican spices to my guacamole, most notably a little mexican oregano and some cumin. it just imparts that trademark southwest taste in the deepest parts of the background of the dip. you'd never know it was there unless you were the one who put it there, but without it i always sense an absence.

                              1. c
                                cocktailhour RE: mocro Sep 28, 2009 04:13 PM

                                Haas are supposed to be among the most flavorful of species I believe. I personally think the best guacamole contains: avocado, just a little bit of tomato, garlic (1 clove), shallot or onion or green onion (whatever I have), minced jalapeno, cilantro, salt, lime, and ground cumin. I really love the addition of cumin. And yes, the amount of salt and lime are key, with the cumin.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cocktailhour
                                  j
                                  jme90 RE: cocktailhour Sep 30, 2009 05:56 AM

                                  I agree with cocktailhour on the recipe. These are the ingredients I use and everyone raves about my guac. Three things I think are key: lime juice and plenty of it; jalapeno -- it needs that kick; and salt -- coarse sea salt adds a little crunch. Often, I leave out the cilantro and am just as happy with the results.

                                  Of course, all of this comes down to personal taste and preferences -- some like garlic, some don't. I happen to prefer it over onion. Anyway, I don't think it's your avocado so much as your recipe. Add some jalapeno and some cumin and I think you'll be happier.

                                2. t
                                  tastesgoodwhatisit RE: mocro Sep 28, 2009 09:05 PM

                                  I can't get the Haas avocados generally - the local ones are much larger and smoother skinned - but I can still get a good guacamole out of it.

                                  The first things is to make sure it's properly ripe. The second thing is to not skimp on the lime juice and salt. Use fresh lime juice, and lots of it, a good amount of salt, and enough but not too much fresh garlic. Then let it sit for a few hours at least to let the flavours mellow.

                                  1. mnosyne RE: mocro Sep 28, 2009 10:19 PM

                                    I'm a big fan of Reed avocados. They're the really large (1 pound or more) smoothish skinned fruits that are around for only the summer months at the various farmers markets. Reed avocados are soooo creamy and delicious! If you can find them somewhere, try making your guac with them. It's a win-win situation.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: mnosyne
                                      m
                                      mocro RE: mnosyne Sep 29, 2009 09:02 PM

                                      Those are good ideas. I'll check out Reed avocados next summer. And I never let my guacamole 'rest' unless opening a bottle of beer counts. I'll try that too. Do you let it sit covered (so as not to brown) but outside the fridge?

                                      1. re: mocro
                                        i
                                        infernooo RE: mocro Sep 29, 2009 09:22 PM

                                        Be careful with the Reeds, unless they are VERY ripe they can be quite watery and bland...

                                    2. c
                                      csacks RE: mocro Sep 30, 2009 05:26 AM

                                      The reply on how an avocado ripens is very helpful.

                                      My guac is kinda cheating, but seldom do I taste guacamole that I like better.
                                      Cube 2 avacados into 1/2 inch pieces. Add up to 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa. 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lime juice and cilantro if you like it. (My favorite salsa is Herdez. salsa casera)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: csacks
                                        beelzebozo RE: csacks Sep 30, 2009 06:04 AM

                                        the salsa is such a great idea! reminds me of alton brown using salsa in chili as a shortcut. i presume it doesn't effect the color of the guac?

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