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Guacamole, Fast, Fresh and Fabulous
The first time I encountered guacamole was when I was ten years old. i went to a tiny ancient boarding school (as a day student), not far from where I was raised. There were quite a few exchange students also there, and several ended up spending Christmas at our house one year. One of them, a high school student from Mexico named Patricia, cooked for our family several times. So the first time I ever got guacamole, it was the real deal - and it was heavenly. Much to my surprise, several years later, when I came across it again it was flat-smack nasty. If the gummy, insipid stuff I got in the restaurant in Atlanta had been my first taste, I'd have slapped whoever gave it to me up side the head. Instead I was stymied - how could this be called by the same name as the lucious, creamy, flavor popping stuff I'd first had? Where was that Mexican magic Patricia had wrought with little more than a fork and a squeeze of lime?
I didn't figure it out until several years later - and quite a few more rather disgusting attempts at duplicating what I'd first had. I finally DID get it though - and the answer was ridiculously simple. Because the answer is....simplicity. Guacamole is one of those nearly perfect combination of flavors that results from a few perfect, fresh, well treated ingredients. Because the dish is entirely raw - there's not much leeway there. Normally I have a hundred tricks for working with less than prime ingredients - and many of them involve cooking methods. That doesn't work here - there's no smoking, stewing, roasting or braising to tenderize or impart flavor. Go perfect with the ingredients - you'll get the payoff. Get great avacoado, perfect tomatoes, fresh limes - and you'll have Bombshell results.
Now - many people have issues with the browing of guacamole once it's made. It's not that big of a deal. It's due to two things - exposure to air and to a chemical called polyphenol oxydase that's in the avacodo itself. Browning, or oxidation, won’t really hurt the food, but it does affect the texture, making the mouth feel of the guacamole unpleasant. And it looks disgusting. But once you know why something happens, it’s much easier to find ways to prevent it.
It's an easy thing to prevent - prevent exposure to air (or minimize it) and your halfway there. Keep the guacamole tightly covered with plastic wrap - get the wrap right down on the surface of the dip. That keeps air from getting in there. Also - any acids - such as the lime and tomato in the following recipe - will also slow the oxidation of the polyphenol oxydase. So work those acids! If you're really worried about it, check out How to Keep Guacamole From Turning Brown. That's more than you ever wanted to know about brown guacamole.
All righty then - the recipe. There are thousands of good ones out there - and if you're lucky enough to find Patricia from Mexico - get hers! But this is one I've worked with for a long time, and I think it's the right combination of creamy, bright, citrus and fabulous. Try this one - especially on guacamole newbies - and they'll be hooked for life just like I was.
- 3 fresh avacados, peeled and mashed (remove the pits)
- Juice from 1-2 limes - to taste, usually 2 unless they're really ripe, then more
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced, or 1 medium fresh tomato
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 pinch ground cayenne or red pepper flakes
- 2 seeded, minced jalapeno peppers (optional)
In a good sized bowl - you want room to mash and mix - mix together the mashed guacamole, salt and lime juice. Sitr in onion, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno and garlic. Add cayenne or red pepper flakes - to taste. Taste and adjust for lime and salt. Cover tightly with platic wrap, and allow flavors to marry in the fridge for at least an hour. All done!
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- The Thrillbilly Gourmet
Combining classic technique with everyday food for spectacular results!