Guacamole, one of the most beloved Mexican specialties and a common dish in the United States, is probably the easiest treat you can whip up for yourself this Cinco de Mayo. It is easy to find a pre-packaged guacamole in your local grocery store but it’s easily made from scratch by mixing avocado mixed with lemon or lime juice and other seasonings. It can be used as a dip, sauce, topping or a side dish. Once you make fresh guacamole yourself, you will never go back to that processed guacamole laden with chemical preservatives – I PROMISE!
The star of guacamole is the avocado. You want to make sure that you use ripe avocados when making guacamole so that they will mash easily. You want them to be a dark green color and firm to the touch but not too firm or hard. (To speed the ripening process, you can place them in a paper bag for a few days at room temperature.) In case you have never worked with avocados before, note that when you cut them open they discolor quickly. To prevent this, we use citrus juice. Avocados are rarely cooked (even on Iron Chef America they were left at room temperature!) because cooking avocados longer than a few minutes causes them to lose their flavor and they turn bitter.
I used to use lime juice in my guacamole but switched over to lemon juice and I am really glad that I did! Eva Longoria, my favorite “desperate housewife,” said the secret to the best guacamole is to use lemon juice. And not only is Eva Longoria a successful Mexican actress, but she also owns her own restaurant, Beso. She was right. The lemon juice REALLY makes a difference!
Here is my recipe for a chunky guacamole. I don’t add tomatoes because I don’t want other ingredients to outshine the flavor of the avocado or cilantro- my two fav Mexican ingredients!
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt + pepper to taste
Using a fork, mash the avocados into big chunks. Mix in onion, jalepeno, cilantro, and garlic. Drizzle with the juice of one lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.