Monday, February 24, 2014
Classic Guacamole + Chips
I'm just going to start out by saying I'm certainly not reinventing the wheel here. This is classic stuff, avocado + lime juice + salt, but every time I make it I have at least one person tell me that I should drop everything, package this guacamole, and sell it at the every Farmer's market from here to Mazatlan.
I don't think I do anything special, but apparently either all my friends and family have had really terrible guacamole or I'm doing something different, so I thought I'd share with you a simple little post on how I make guacamole.
First thing first, you have to start with stellar avocados. I use Haas avocados because that is what is available to me and they are reliably ripe and creamy. Look for avocados that are heavy for their size with tight skin that gives ever so slightly when pressed. The skin should be dark, almost black with no mushy soft spots. I cut the avocados in half and then scoop out the flesh with a big spoon pit and all. You can then leave the pits in the guacamole (some people feel it helps keep the avocados from turning brown) or you can take them out.
Tip number two: to remove the seeds from the jalapeño, first slice off the stem, then using the core as a guide, cut the flesh of the jalapeño away from the core in strips. You can then discard the core, slice the strips into even thinner strips lengthwise, then into small mince by cutting those thin strips horizontally into tiny squares.
Put everything (except the lime juice, which must, must, must be freshly squeezed) into a large bowl and mash it with a potato masher. I don't like my guacamole completely smooth, so I don't mash the crap out of it, but just until most of the avocado has been turned into a creamy paste holding together all the beautiful pieces of scallion, jalapeño, and whatnots.
Then gently fold in the lime juice until it is well combined with no runny rivers of lime juice anywhere. And that's it! Don't forget to taste it though to make sure you don't need any more salt or lime juice. If it doesn't make you say Hallelujah, Thank You Lord Jesus! Then you probably need a pinch more salt or a bit more lime juice. Start with one, taste and then add the other until you feel like you've gotten the right amount. Use your gut.....you'll know when it is enough.
If you want to be muy autentico you can easily make your own tortilla chips too. Simply heat up an inch or two of vegetable or canola oil in a shallow frying pan until a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds (the oil will be about 350°F if you want to use a deep-fry thermometer), cut some corn tortillas into wedges then add them to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove them to a paper towel-lined tray and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Makes 4 servings
3 ripe avocados
1 large jalapeño, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 large scallion (white and green parts), finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh out of the avocado into a large bowl. Discard the pits.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, and mash together using a potato masher until combined, but still some small pieces remain, not completely smooth.
3. Add lime juice and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or lime as necessary.
4. If not serving immediately press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the guacamole. You want the plastic wrap to be touching it, any places where it is not touching will start to turn brown. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The guacamole can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
To make the chips:
Making your own chips is pretty easy. Just heat an inch or two of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan to about 350°F or until a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds when dropped in the oil. Cut 10-12 corn tortillas into 8 wedges each, then add to the hot oil a handful at a time. Fry until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes) then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.