Having grown up in Texas, I learned that certain things are truly sacred, and Tex-Mex is definitely one of them. Really good guacamole is creamy, a little spicy, and perfectly seasoned. It's delicious on enchiladas, in fajitas, or all on its own with nothing but a bag of tortilla chips to shuttle vast amounts into your mouth.
It is easy to make, but for reasons I don't completely understand, many people are intimidated by it, and either settle for inferior guac, or worse, buy those packages of powdered I-don't-know-what grocery stores sell in the produce section.
The trick, my friend, is pick up all fresh, quality ingredients and let them shine, melding into the perfect scoopable party food. It's way healthier and darn tastier, too.
How to make guacamole without a recipe
1. Roast a jalapeño over an open flame — a gas stove and a metal kabob skewer are perfect for this. If you are going to use a wood skewer, do soak it first so that it doesn't catch fire. Let the jalapeño cool before handling.
2. Cut up a couple fresh avocados — two, three, four, depending on how many people you're feeding — and mush them with a potato masher or fork in a bowl until still creamy but slightly chunky.
3. Add in some diced red onion, diced tomato (optional and best during the summer when in season), the zest and juice of a lime, a couple cloves of minced garlic, and a good bunch of chopped cilantro.
4. Once the jalapeño is cool, de-seed it, chop it, and throw that into the guac party.
5. Add a little salt, and give it a taste. Depending on how much heat the jalapeño has, I sometimes add a bit of Greek yogurt to cool it off.
6. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the dip to keep from browning, and place in the fridge for half an hour to let the flavors get to know each other before serving. It's fine to refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, but make sure to give everything a good stir if it's been much longer than that to help preserve the color.
7. Unless you like your guac ice-cold, let it sit out for about 15 minutes before serving.
Photos by James Ransom
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