Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Our favorite guacamole comes from a vendor at our farmers’ market, but lately it’s been getting too expensive to justify buying. Over $6 for a small container is pretty exorbitant, especially in a city where avocados literally grow on trees (my friend Editor A has one in her backyard). So, last time we had steak tacos for dinner, I decided to make my own guac, using a recipe from my files I hadn’t tried in years. A few of the details gave me pause (lemon juice instead of lime juice? tomatoes? cumin?), but I forged ahead and discovered that apparently my tastes have changed, because the resulting guacamole was...not very good. I mean, we ate it and it didn’t taste bad or anything, but it didn’t hold a candle to the pricy farmers’-market guacamole I’d had fantasies of effortlessly surpassing with my homemade version. FAIL.

So when I was presented with a mess of beautiful avocados from the CSA last week, I was a little worried about doing right by them. I promptly scrapped the old recipe and searched for a better one, but after scrolling through the comments of numerous blog posts and Epicurious entries, I realized that everyone’s guacamole ideal is different—garlic or no garlic (or garlic powder), onions or no onions, cilantro or no cilantro, tomatoes or no tomatoes, lemon or lime or orange juice, peppers or Tabasco sauce or cayenne or no spice at all, not to mention all the other crazy things people confess to adding, including sour cream, cream cheese, and Miracle Whip! In the end, I decided simplest was best. I chose the ingredients I considered to be indispensible—avocado, lots of lime juice, a little garlic (some people find raw garlic too overpowering, but I like it while I’m eating it; admittedly, however, when my mouth tastes like garlic hours later even after I’ve brushed my teeth, I have some regrets), cilantro, and plenty of salt—and concocted my own version. And cripes, it was one of the most delicious guacamoles I have ever eaten, rivaled only by the ur-guacamole I ate on my first trip to Mexico that got me liking guacamole in the first place. We ate the entire bowl for dinner, with just some corn chips for dipping and some corn fritters on the side. And I’m crossing my fingers for more avocados in the CSA box this week, because I can’t wait to make this again.

2 medium, ripe avocados
1 medium clove garlic
Coarse kosher salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful minced fresh cilantro (maybe 2 heaping tablespoons?)

1. Peel, seed, and dice the avocados and place them in a medium glass bowl (preferably one that has a lid), but don’t mash them yet.

2. Mince the clove of garlic and sprinkle the garlic with a pinch of coarse salt. Let it sit for a minute or two, then mash it well with a fork until it makes a paste. Scatter the paste over the avocados in the bowl.

3. Add lime juice, cilantro, and coarse salt to taste to the bowl. (At Andy’s behest, I added a few drops of Tabasco sauce—most people use green Tabasco for guacamole, but I only had the red—but I’m not sure it really added anything, and I didn’t miss the spiciness.) Toss everything well, then mash with a fork to desired consistency. Taste for seasonings, adjust as necessary, and mix well.

4. Cover surface of guacamole with plastic wrap to prevent browning (some people, including me, perhaps superstitiously, also put one of the avocado pits in there), cover the bowl with a lid, and refrigerate for at least a few hours so the flavors can blend. I like to take it back out of the fridge about 15–20 minutes before eating, though, so it’s not ice-cold.

Serves: 2 or more
Time: 15 minutes
Leftover potential: Unknown

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