Tuesday, January 29, 2008

OPC Recipe Club: Holy Guacamole

You probably won't want to make your Super Bowl guacamole until Saturday or Sunday, but I wanted to get this recipe out there now, both because I want to convince you how easy it is to make good guacamole, and because it's just about time to buy the avocados. Guacamole is kind of an odd dish in that you can't really buy it in the store - not any kind that's worth eating, anyway - but you can make your own, with your own particular tastes represented, without any trouble at all.

All you need is a couple of avocados, a plum tomato, some lime juice, and some cilantro, although I've also made it with a clove of garlic as well. What you want to do is buy the avocados and take them home, leaving them in a brown paper bag for a few days to ripen. You want them soft but not mushy.

When you're ready to make the guac, cut the avocados in half lengthwise, then flip the seed out with a paring knife. With that same paring knife, I then cut slices in the pulp of the avocado while it's still in the skin, cutting lines both down the fruit and all the way across it, leaving little squares of avocado. Then you turn the skin inside out over a mixing bowl, and out pops a whole mess of precut avocado. Repeat for all four halves.

Then you cut up the plum tomato. Heartier souls than I have gone ahead and peeled the tomato as well, but I don't think that's necessary; just chop it up into as small as you can get the pieces. Little bits of tomato skin will just lend more color and variety to the final mix. Dump the tomato into the bowl with the avocado, then add a tablespoon of lime juice and some chopped cilantro. You don't have to literally chop the cilantro - it's easier to cut it up into bits with a pair of kitchen scissors. In the past, I've also put in a minced clove of garlic, but I've decided that makes it a bit too piquant.

I use a potato masher to mash everything together. You don't have to obliterate every last trace of avocado and make it into a paste; it's OK to have some chunks in there. Serve with blue corn chips for a dramatic color contrast.

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