Guacamole

guacamole recipe

Okay, show of hands – who likes guacamole more than I do? Okay… Now that that’s settled, who was more thrilled that I was to score a batch of freshly fried tortilla chips and a big bag of just-about ripe Haas avocados this week?

I’m not asking any more questions, I promise. Because the answers were right here in my kitchen. Although what some people might not know if that the French like guacamole (and chips) as much as I do. So much so that a local Mexican restaurant named after the famed dip had to add an accent on the final é so people would pronounce the entire word (the last part of French words usually aren’t pronounced), rather than say guac-a-mole, which sounds more like a Mexican carnival game than the most delicious thing you can dip a chip into.

guacamole avocados

So guacamole season has officially begun and I’m ripe and ready, and so were my avocados. Although it seemed like the longest night of my life, wondering if my avocados would ripen by the next day. I like to keep guacamole simple, with a gentle spiciness, letting the avocados star. So I don’t mess with it too much. But one trick I do is to sometimes add a tiny spoonful of olive oil, which gives guacamole a bit of silky smoothness and tends the bring the whole thing together. In terms of authenticity, I’m not sure if that will keep the wolves at bay, but I know Mexicans who have made guacamole with white vinegar, in lieu of the lime juice, and I remember all of us scraping the molcajete clean. (I don’t keep it on hand, but a tiny drizzle of avocado oil might be another interesting possibility.)

Thai chilis

And since we’re myth-busting, Harold McGee told me there’s no truth to the rumor that keeping the pit in guacamole will keep it from turning brown. Just the lime juice will. So If you want to try a couple of batches and test that theory, you’re welcome to. But I never can keep guacamole around long enough. In fact, this batch disappeared pretty quickly. Of course, a few lime margaritas speeded up the process.

Haas avocados for guacamole

Guacamole

Four to six servings


I prefer to use Hass avocados. You can tell they’re ripe when the skins are no longer green but black, and if you press them with your thumb, it’ll leave an imprint. I advise if you’re shopping in Paris, where touching produce is frowned upon, that you shop by color, rather than texture. (Can you blame them? Who wants to buy dented avocados?) Then use the touch test in the safety of your home.

Fresh chilis are certainly a matter of preference. I had some slender Thai chilis on hand, and added a whole one to my guacamole, which got hotter and hotter as it sat. I generally prefer Jalapeños, if you can find them. Use however much you are comfortable with. Start with a small amount, then taste and add more. Remember that it’s easy to add more chopped chiles than to try to take them out. If you like chopped tomatoes or cilantro, you can add those at the end.

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 medium ripe avocados (about 1 1/2 pounds, 700 g)
  • juice of one small lime
  • One small chili, chopped (you can keep or remove the seeds, which add more heat)
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • optional: 1 scant teaspoon olive oil
  • optional: a dash of chipotle or ancho chile powder

1. Mash the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle. (You can also make guacamole in a bowl using a fork or potato masher. If so, chop the garlic first.) Split the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the pulp with a soupspoon and dice the pulp, then add it to the garlic and mash it into the garlic along with the lime juice.

2. Mash the guacamole so it’s to your liking – some like it chunky, some prefer it smooth – then mix in the onions, some chopped fresh chili, and olive oil, if using. Taste and season with more salt, lime juice, and chile if desired. For a slightly smoky flavor, add a bit of chipotle or ancho chile powder.


avocados for guacamole


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114 comments

  • Adore your work David, I do. I’ve given up on food snobbery, but I can’t let this go:

    That is definitely a gringo measure of lime.

  • What!? Am I missing something? Only two comments and both niggling criticisms?

    Thanks for continuing to celebrate great food without boundaries, David. I remember my mom making this and astounding the rural neighbors on the East Coast back in the 50s, when no one we knew had even heard of it. I still love it and still make it the way she did, getting the heat from Tabasco sauce.

  • tomatillos are a great thing to add.

    hard to get in France but for anyone else, they make all the difference. I give full credit to a great teacher Estela Silva in central Mexico

  • Eva: I’ve been trying to find tomatillos in Paris for years. I’ve brought them back from the US (you can get pretty decent ones canned.) Wonder if someone will ever grow them here? I once bought some tiny fruits that looked like them in an Indian market here, but they turned out to be green tomatoes – which I turned into chutney.

    Robert: Comments get moved to another page after a hundred are reached, so there are bunch more – you can hit “Previous comments” to read them. People are fired up about cilantro (and lime, mayo, oil, spices, etc.) in their guacamole and there were a number of responses. I didn’t put it in this batch, but I often do and mentioned it was one thing you could add, as well as tomatoes. The great thing about guacamole is that it’s infinitely customizable!

    • David, I would bet that your relationship with some of the farmers/marketeers would help you find someone who would be delighted to grow you some, and an embarrassment of riches in the form of an abundant crop would be OK, since you can preserve them for future delectation. Best of luck!

  • I put avocados in a brown paper bag and keep in dark place to ripen. Agree with Zoe about the lime….not enough! I use one regular sized lime for 2-3 avocados, plus plenty of cilantro and chopped tomatoes.