There’s no way to keep track of food days. They are confusing and there are a lot of them and they sometimes repeat. We can’t cover them all — we have to cherry pick our favorites.
Speaking personally, I’ve written about food for a long time and I know only one certainty about guac: 1) anyone who doesn’t like it is untrustable. Prolly they pick their noses and stuff.
Okay, fine. Not everyone has to like guac (supertasters, for whom cilantro tastes like soap, get a pass), but most every does like it and with good reason. It’s as easy to modify as salsa, with more mouthfeel, and it has that unctuous quality we all adore. To honor the day, we’re going to share a recipe chef/writer Bonnie Pipkin devised for us last year, with some additions by yours truly:
WHAT YOU NEED FOR SURE:
Avocados. Lime. Salt.
That’s it, that’s all. Beyond that, it’s all about finding your perfect flavor combination.
WHAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO ADD:
Onion & Cilantro & Tomatoes & Chilies (jalapeño or serrano are good options) & Garlic & Cumin.
Please do not feel like you have to add sour cream. Guacamole is about the flavor and texture of the AVOCADO. Don’t mess with that.
[A few thoughts here: roasted green pasilla chilies are amazing. Those are the most flavorful chilies I know — particularly when roasted. I like spice, so I use my jalepeños raw and my pasillas roasted.]
Okay, okay, so you want proportions, more information, measurements. Here’s what you do: Taste, taste, taste! It will never taste bad along the way. All ingredients involved were meant for each other. This route will require much double-dipping, but you don’t need to tell your guests.
A good rule of thumb is one avocado will yield approximately one cup of guacamole, minus a few tablespoons for the taste tests. Make a batch to entertain with five to eight avocados, but let’s be real, no matter how many you use, there will NOT be leftovers. Go for 12 if you’re a <em>fiesta</em> animal. No one ever says, “I wish there was less guac.”
Add the juice of one whole lime (halve it if you’re going with just two avocados). [I use oranges for citrus without the sour bite]. This should keep things from browning [also, leaving the avo seeds in the guac is said to help with this], and add a perfect zip. Sprinkle some sea salt into the mix, and mash it up with a fork. You don’t need to go crazy with the mashing. Chunks make the textural experience much more satisfying. DON’T FORGET THE SALT! Salt and avocados are like magic together. Trust.
Next, add a half an onion (a quarter for the smaller batch, and a whole for the grande). Red, white, yellow, whatever your preference! Some people like it more oniony than others. Start with a half, finely chopped, and then modify to your taste.
Cilantro. If you are one of the unfortunate souls who would just as soon drink shampoo as eat the zesty leaf, then don’t add it. If you enjoy all this little guy has to offer, chop up a half a bunch of the leaves only, and sprinkle in to taste.
Less is more with the chopped tomatoes. If it’s summer, go loco. If not, a handful for texture and a non-citrus tang is just fine. [Here again, I roast the tomatoes, it sweetens them up.]
THE FINAL TOUCHES
Next up, the spice content. Serranos are SPICY, and jalapenos, too, but less so. That said, no two peppers are created equal. Depending on where you’re sourcing your chilies, you could get your hands on some muy caliente jalapenos or some sucker serranos. Taste testing is key here to find your perfect spice level. Chop these up real fine for blending purposes. If you want to calm things down, scrape and discard the seeds.
You dig the stinking rose? Start with a clove of garlic (chopped finely) and work from there. No need to fend off vampires with your guacamole. A little goes a long way. [Again, slow roasting will mellow the flavor but also deepen it.]
Finally, cumin. Save it for the end. If everything is perfect without it, you might not want it. Cumin has a very distinctive flavor. It compliments Mexican cooking beautifully, but it can also be overpowering. Cuídate. Too much cumin might throw off the balance you’ve sacrificed so many tortilla chips for.
Mix and taste along the way. Need more pop? Add more lime! More spice? Jalapenos! Love a garlicky dip? You guessed it: Add another clove. Mashed into oblivion along the way? Put that reserve avocado you were saving for your morning toast into the pot. Chunk it up.
[Having made a lot of guac, I’ve cycled through a short term affinity for the ultra pulverized version. I like it pretty chunky, made in a molcajete.]
And what to serve with all of this? The perfect pico de gallo, of course.