There are probably no fewer than 1,000,000 guacamole recipes out there in the world – some people use lime juice, some people use lemon juice, some people think that the juice of any citrus should be banned from all guacamole, ever (I am in this third group). Some people like to get crazy, and put things like caramelized onions into their guac, or perhaps some finely diced, grilled pineapple, or maybe a sprinkle of chopped bacon. Now, all of these variations are fine and good, and probably really damn delicious, to be honest – but, personally, I think that guacamole is at its best when it’s simple and unadorned. No tropical fruits, no smoked meats, no hoops to jump through. That’s not to say I don’t have a secret ingredient, because I totally DO, but it’s one that just enhances the flavors of the avocado, rather than taking over.
Before we go any further, let’s all acknowledge one thing: avocado browns once it’s been exposed to air. That doesn’t mean it’s gone bad, it doesn’t mean you are a bad cook, and it’s not going to kill anyone. It’s just a fact of life. No secret trick is going to prevent it from happening completely (you can believe that adorning your bowl of guacamole with an avocado pit will prevent browning all you want – it still won’t work). Lemon or lime juice will slow the browning process, but it will muddy up the clean flavors of the rest of the ingredients, and that’s not worth it, to me. So, have your tortilla chips at the ready, and make sure you’ve got your eatin’ pants on before you start smashing avocados, and just be ready to devour every last bit of your guacamole before it has a chance to even THINK of browning. Works for me, at least.
Simply Delicious Guacamole
2 ripe avocados*
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 sweet yellow onion (if it’s small; use 1/4 of a large one), diced small
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp celery salt
*Do you know how to make sure your avocados are ripe? Their skin will be on the darker side (more brown, less green), and when you squeeze them gently, they will be a little soft. If there is no give to the avocado at all, or if it squishes in your hand, then it’s before or past its prime. I never shop for avocados the day I want to use them; of course, there are days that I’m in the grocery store, happen upon some perfectly ripe avocados, and declare that we’ll be eating a large bowl of guacamole for dinner. It happens. But, it’s better to shop for them at least a day or two before you plan to use them – that way, if they’re not ripe enough yet, you can employ some ripening tricks to get them ready to go. If they happen to be perfectly ripe already, they’ll keep wonderfully in the fridge for a couple days.
If you need to ripen an avocado quickly, place it into a brown paper bag with a ripe banana (an apple or tomato will work, if that’s what you’ve got). Fold the top of the bag down, so it stays shut, and leave the bag out at room temperature overnight. This should ripen your avocado in about 24 hours (for example: this past weekend, I purchased 4 rock-hard avocados on Friday afternoon. I came home, put them into a bag with two ripe bananas, and let them sit overnight – by 5pm the next day, they were perfectly ripe and ready for smashing).
1.) Start by seeding and dicing your tomato into a small-to-medium dice, depending on how chunky you want your guacamole. Set it aside.
2.) Dice your onion (I prefer mine on the smaller side, about a 1/4″ dice). Set that aside as well.
3.) Cut your avocados in half (I chop off the stem end, then cut into the side until I reach the pit, and just rotate the knife around the avocado, until it’s cut completely in half). Rather than fussing with a spoon to scrape the flesh out, I just take each half on my palm, and squeeze it until all the flesh has come out of the skin.
4.) Once you’ve got all your avocados in the bowl, lightly mash them with a fork – you don’t want to mash until the avocados are smooth, just until they’re broken up and still a bit chunky.
5.) Add your tomatoes, onions, and both salts (reserving a bit of the tomatoes and onions for garnish), and gently fold the mixture together with a spoon.
6.) Do a quick taste test – if the guacamole tastes a little bland or uninteresting, you just need a bit more salt. Add more salt slowly, tasting as you go, so you don’t overdo it!
As I said, this is my very favorite way to make guacamole. There are no strong flavors competing against the fresh avocado, tomato, and onion, and the two varieties of salt add just the right amount of uniqueness. If you happen to have some guacamole left over (if this is the case, I feel like I hardly know you. No guacamole goes uneaten! No man left behind!), just press some plastic wrap against the surface of the guacamole, and put it in the fridge. When you are ready to eat it, you can simply scrape the brown layer off the top, and underneath you’ll find bright green, avocado goodness.
Quick, eat it all before it gets brown!