Just like everyone, I have some odd food preferences. One of them is Avocados. I don’t like them, not even a little. Boring and oddly textured, they just aren’t my thing. However, I LOVE guacamole which is made from avocados. Go figure! When avocados are mashed and combined with seasonings, onions, and lime juice, I go crazy. When I’m making my own I probably eat at least half before I serve it … just to “make sure” it tastes good, I’m very into quality control, LOL!
You can always buy ready-made guacamole at the grocery store, but homemade is so much better that you really should try it. Avocados may seem intimidating, but that mysterious fruit isn’t scary at all. You just have to know how to handle them.
Avocados grow on trees in warm climates and are found in most tropical cuisines. They are shipped while still very firm, but do ripen beautifully on your countertop. Buy them two or three days ahead of when you need them to be sure they are ripe on time. When you press gently on the skin it should give slightly. If they are really soft, they’re too ripe. Putting them in the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process if some are getting softer before others.
Most guacamole recipes call for red onions, but I prefer the more delicate flavor of shallots. You can use whatever you have on hand. If you are using onions and want to lessen the sharp flavor slightly, soak slices in ice water for about 30 minutes before draining and chopping. I like the crunch of fresh cucumbers but purists will want to leave them out.
Some people use guacamole as a cooling agent while eating spicy foods. If you are serving it on its own, you may want to heat it up a little with minced jalapenos. If you like smoky flavors, you can use chipotle chiles instead which are smoked, dried, and usually reconstituted jalapenos. You can also leave it mild and serve with spiced tortilla chips!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
You mince a shallot using the same technique as an onion, except that you use a very sharp paring knife. Peel the shallot, trim off the point, slice vertically without cutting through the root, into about 5 slices. Turn it sideway and slice horizontally into tiny cubes. When the cubes are tiny it is called mincing.
Kitchen Skill: Seeding Tomatoes
Why: To reduce the liquid and seeds in tomatoes and create a nicer looking dice.
How: Cut out stem and slice the tomato in half horizontally (along the “equator”). Gently squeeze to get most of the seeds out. If you have some stubborn ones, use your fingers to scoop them out. Set tomato cut side up and dice.
- 3 to 4 ripe avocados, seeded, peeled and cubed
- Fresh tomato salsa, 1/2 to 1 cup
- 2 to 3 shallots, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced finely, optional
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 to 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded, de-ribbed, and minced finely, optional
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Juice from 1 to 2 limes
- Tortilla Chips
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
- The easiest way to work with avocados is to slice them in half lengthwise and twist to separate halves. Using a very sharp chef’s knife carefully hit the pit with the knife and twist it to release the pit. Then using a large cooking spoon that is about the same size as the avocado, slip it just under the skin and scoop it out in one solid piece. Set cut side down on cutting board and dice.
- Place avocado in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork, leaving some chunks. Gently stir in salsa, shallots, cucumber, cilantro, onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper to combine. Add lime juice, a tablespoon at a time, until you’ve reached a good flavor balance.
- Tear off a piece of plastic wrap and place it directly on the surface of the guacamole and press to the sides of the dish. Refrigerate at least one hour or until ready to use. The flavor of the salt and seasonings won’t fully develop for a while so season lightly and add more if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. Sprinkle diced tomatoes over the top for added color and texture.
- Let warm up slightly before serving with tortilla chips.
- Yield: about 10 servings