Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Guacamole

Guacamole

Introduction

Perfect with any Mexican or Southwest dinner, homemade Guacamole may bear little resemblance to the stuff you've seen at Taco Bell. You want to start with ripe avocados, but the trick is not to over process them into a paste. The "glue" to this dish is a mix of onion, pepper and cilantro that holds the pieces of avocado together.

Guacamole seems to always taste a bit better when made and served in a stone Mexican mortar and pestle. However, you can make a fine Guacamole using nothing but a regular bowl.

Ingredients

  • 2 Haas Avocados (in the illustrations we are using 4 tiny organic avocados).
  • 4-5 T chopped, fresh Cilantro
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 - 1 fresh Jalapeño Pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Cut the avocado in half lengthwiseIf you've never worked with avocados before, they can be a bit intimidating - unless you know the trick of seeding them and getting their delicious meat. There is a ping pong ball sized pit in the middle of the avocado, and we have to get it out before anything else. First, make sure your avocados are ripe. They should give to the touch, but not be totally soft. If there is a bit of a dried stem on the narrow end, pull it off and discard - we don't want it to get into our guacamole.
Cut the avocado in half lengthwiseHolding the avocado in one hand, cut into it lengthwise, cutting down until you hit the pit. Now, turn the avocado so that you make a slit that runs around the entire avocado, top to bottom, cutting all the way to the pit. Put the knife down and twist the avocado.
One side will have a pit, the other will not. One side will have a pit, the other will not.
Carefully, but hard enough to cut part way into the pit, come down with a knife blade. Carefully, but hard enough to cut part way into the pit, come down with a knife blade.
Twist the avocado and the pit will pop right out!
This avocado is a bit over-ripe. This avocado is a bit over-ripe. We'll discard the really discolored flesh.
Being very careful not to pierce the skin of the avocado, slice through the green meat several times, making quarter inch slices.Being very careful not to pierce the skin of the avocado, slice through the green meat several times, making quarter inch slices.
Now turn the Avocado 90 degrees, and cut cross ways, so you end up with a quarter inch grid.Now turn the Avocado 90 degrees, and cut cross ways, so you end up with a quarter inch grid. Depending on the size of the avocado, I'll sometimes do another set of cross cuts on the diagonal.
This is a jalapeno pepperThis is a jalapeno pepper. Sometimes they are very hot, others are mild. Since you can never be sure without tasting, you will have to measure the heat of your guacamole by taste.
The first thing we want to do is cut off the top of the pepper. The first thing we want to do is cut off the top of the pepper. Then cut it down the middle, lengthwise. Please, be careful not to accidentally rub your nose or eyes after you've cut into the pepper or you will feel some very real pain.
Cut out the seeds and discard.Cut out the seeds and discard.
Cut the pepper into a very fine chop. Cut the pepper into a very fine chop. Reserve for later.
This is fresh CilantroThis is fresh Cilantro, a very large bunch with roots attached.
Cut off the stems. Cut off the stems.
Rinse the cilantro under cold water. Rinse the cilantro under cold water.
With a knife or food processor, chop the cilantro as fine as possible. With a knife or food processor, chop the cilantro as fine as possible.
Put the cilantro into a stone mortar.Put the cilantro into a stone mortar.
Cut an onion in half. We only need about half a small onion. Cut an onion in half. We only need about half a small onion.
Chop the half a small onion.Chop the half a small onion.
Add a 1-2 T chopped onion to the mortar. Add a 1-2 T chopped onion to the mortar.
Now, add the juice of half a lemon to the onion and corriander. Now, add the juice of half a lemon to the onion and coriander.
Mash, and nearly liquify the onion and corriander. Mash, and nearly liquefy the onion and coriander.
Add half of the diced jalapeno. More if you like hotter guacamole. Add half of the diced jalapeno. More if you like hotter guacamole.
Mash the jalapeno.Mash the jalapeno.
Scoop the meat of the avocado out with a spoon and put it into the mortar. Do not mash it. Scoop the meat of the avocado out with a spoon and put it into the mortar. Do not mash it.
Wash a large tomato.Wash a large tomato.
Chop into quarter to half-inch dice. Chop into quarter to half-inch dice.
Add half the tomato to the mortar. Sprinkle on salt to taste.Add half the tomato to the mortar. Sprinkle on salt to taste.
Gently toss the tomato and avocado into the lemon-corriander-onion mix, scraping the bottom of the mortar.Gently toss the tomato and avocado into the lemon-coriander-onion mix, scraping the bottom of the mortar. Do not over mix or the avocado will break down and you'll have mush (which will still taste good, but not as good).
Add in a bit more chopped onion, to taste. Add in a bit more chopped onion, to taste.
More jalapeno can be added at this point if you like - but don't make the dip too hot for your guests to enjoy! More jalapeno can be added at this point if you like - but don't make the dip too hot for your guests to enjoy!
Mound the guacamole into the center of the mortar and line the rim with corn chips. Mound the guacamole into the center of the mortar and line the rim with corn chips.
Push the guacamoloe back toward the edges of the mortar, leaving a small depression in the middle and use four or five small chips (or chip fragrments) to make a center "dish". Push the guacamole back toward the edges of the mortar, leaving a small depression in the middle and use four or five small chips (or chip fragments) to make a center "dish".
Put the most of the rest of the tomato in the center dish, making a "flower" of our bowl. Sprinkle the outer section with bits of tomato and chopped corriander.Put the most of the rest of the tomato in the center dish, making a "flower" of our bowl. Sprinkle the outer section with bits of tomato and chopped coriander.

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