#RecipeUpTop (details below):
- 3 Ripe Avocados;
- 1 large lime;
- 1 jalapeno pepper;
- Salt (to taste);
Method: Zest and juice the lime into a large mixing bowl. Remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeno, mince fine, and add to the bowl. Split and pit the avocados, and add to the bowl, season with salt, and mash with a fork to chunky consistency. Cover with plastic wrap tight against the guac and refrigerate for an hour (minimum).
In the year 2020, guacamole is in crisis. It has been, sadly, reduced to a pseudo-luxury paste, doled out for a few extra cents on a fast food burrito, held in giant vats and possessing all the character and intrigue of baby food.
Or, equally offensive, it’s served “table-side” by a beleaguered waiter who mixes in a potpourri of extras – red onion, ramekins full of cilantro, dubious cloves of garlic – all for the price of a small automobile.
In my mind, guacamole should be about three very simple things: avocado, lime, and jalapeno. Further, it needs time for those simple ingredients to unite into the irresistible creamy, spicy, tangy, and – above all – fresh concoction we all know and love.
Why the simplicity? Well, a lot of the extra ingredients show up in other food you’re probably eating at the same time (salsa, pico de gallo, etc). Why take your most prized and expensive food and hammer it with the same flavors you’re using on cheap tomatoes?
Anyway, as we’ve discussed before, even the simple things have a few tricks and twists to them, so let’s get started:
First, zest and juice your lime.
I like having that in the bowl first because, as you may have experienced in the past, the avocado will oxidize and turn brown without the presence of some acidity. Instead of racing against the clock after the avocados are already exposed to the air, I figure it makes sense to go with the acid first. Also, the juice will extract some extra lime flavor from the zest while we’re putting the rest of this together. Last, the liquid makes things a little easier when we start to mash.
Second, split and seed your jalapeno:
You may want to wear gloves for this, go head, but I don’t. Just make sure you don’t touch your eyes for a bit.
Jalapenos seem to range in heat pretty wildly, but almost all of that substance (capsaicin) is in the seeds and the white membranes (you can still see some of those here, which I’m leaving in because I want a little heat). By removing the seeds and membranes, you’re left with fresh, astringent jalapeno flavor with a little bit of heat on the back end, which is what we’re after.
Mince it as finely as possible because, even de-fanged, nobody really wants a huge chunk of jalapeno:
Finally, the avocados. Split ’em, pit ’em, and get them in the bowl:
Add a sprinkle of salt, grab a fork, and work them against the side of the bowl, until you get a chunky-creamy consistency:
At this point, taste it for salt and adjust if needed.
Now, the hard part: cover it and get it in the fridge for at least an hour. It needs to have some time for all of the flavors to meld, and bring out the best in each other. Seal with plastic wrap, and press down directly onto the top of the guac to prevent browning:
It looks a little like a science experiment, but once the chill is done, it’ll peel right off without any mess.
Move to a bowl and serve with… well, whatever you want: