Summer weather in Southern California usually comes a little later than the rest of the country, so even though it’s early July, we’re still enjoying temps in the low 80’s – perfect for outdoor grilling and picnics in the park! I love to cook and share good food with friends and loved ones, and one of my favorite foods of all time, as well as one of my favorite things to make for barbeques and picnics, is guacamole. I can eat tons of it! As a California native, I love Mexican food, and I think a lot of that love has to do with the fact that Mexican food is the vehicle by which I usually eat guacamole! A few years ago, I decided to come up with my own recipe for it so I could have it anytime. So, if you’re a guacamole lover like I am, or even if you’re just looking for a yummy dip to bring to a party, I invite you to try this version, and see what you think 🙂
To make enough guacamole to serve about 8-10, you’ll need the following:
4 ripe avocados
1 large or 2 small to medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/8 red onion or 1 small or 1/2 of a large shallot, finely minced
1 small or 1/2 a large jalapeno, seeded, ribs removed, and finely minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, depending on the size of your avocados (or 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp to 3/4 tsp regular salt)
Juice from 1 to 1 1/2 limes (depending on how juicy your limes are)
I forgot to include the salt in the above pic, but I figure you get the idea 😉
To make the guacamole, cut each avocado in half, remove the flesh with a spoon, and add it to a medium mixing bowl. Mash it with a potato masher or a fork till it’s about halfway mashed (it will mash up a bit more when you mix in the other ingredients). Add the tomato, onion (or shallot), jalapeno, and cilantro, and stir with a spatula or large spoon to combine. Add the salt and lime juice and mix well to combine. Continue mixing till the avocado is mostly mashed, but still has a few small to medium chunks left in tact.
Also, after making guacamole many times over the years, I’ve developed a few tricks to make it easier. Hopefully, they’ll help you out, too 🙂
First, I HIGHLY recommend wearing gloves while chopping jalapenos. The oils inside the peppers can stay on your hands and fingers for several hours – even after washing with soap and water. If you forget and touch your eye, you’ll essentially mace yourself. Unfortunately, I know this from experience… 🙁
Second, avocados are ripe when they give slightly when pressed on and feel soft, but not super mushy. If you buy avocados that feel hard to the touch, they’ll usually ripen in a day or two if placed in a paper bag with the top folded down.
Third, an easy way to remove avocado pits is to use your knife. Slice the avocado down the middle lengthwise, and then twist the two sides to separate them. Hold the side with the pit in one hand and then carefully, but swiftly, lodge your knife into the pit.
Twist your knife and the pit should release from the avocado. (If the knife comes out without the pit, you didn’t lodge it in deep enough.)
And finally, to help your limes release more juice, microwave them on high for about 10 seconds or press down on them while rolling them on your cutting board or counter for a few seconds.
Then, cut them in half width-wise and squeeze them over the guacamole either cut side up or cut side down through a fine mesh strainer to help keep bits of lime pulp from escaping into your recipe.
And, just in case you need them, here are a couple tips for keeping leftovers nice and green:
1) If you need to keep your guacamole green for 3 or 4 hours (like before a party), place plastic wrap over it so that it’s sitting right on top of it. Then, gently press the plastic wrap onto it so there aren’t any gaps or air bubbles over the top or around the edges before refrigerating it.
2) If you need to store your guacamole overnight or up to several weeks, transfer it to a freezer safe ziptop bag, and freeze it. Even with air in the bag, freezing will keep your guacamole green indefinitely. To defrost, double check that the bag is securely closed, and then immerse it in cold water for 20-30 minutes, or till defrosted. Also, the flatter/thinner your bag of guacamole is, the faster it will defrost.