Sunday, May 3, 2009

Simple Guacamole

Mexico is getting a bad rap this week as the epicenter of the soon-to-be pandemic H1N1 (aka Swine) flu virus. To balance out the hysteria, especially of those who advocate sealing off the U.S.-Mexico border, I want to highlight one of the great things that has come to us across that border (or maybe it was through the 1848 cession/annexation of Northwestern Mexico, which is now the American Southwest).

In any case, many Mexican dishes have become adapted or served as inspiration for American cuisine, including quesadillas, tamales, fajitas, chilli, tacos, churros and burritos... I could go on. Guacamole, an avocado-based relish or dip, is a great accompaniment to several of these dishes and many others.

The name guacamole comes from an Aztec dialect via the Nahuatl meaning avocado sauce. Traditionally, it was made by mashing avocados in a mortar and pestle and adding tomatoes and salt. Many restaurants prepare guacamole at the table using a traditional molcajete, which is a large mortar and pestle made from lava rock.

Some versions contain lime/lemon juice, chilli peppers, garlic, cumin, cilantro and onions. I once made a recipe from Martha Stewart’s magazine containing fruit chunks including grapes. Yuck! In addition to the above dishes, guacamole is often served with tortilla chips or as a topping for toast, burgers, baked potatoes, grilled meat, eggs and sandwiches.

Why not plan a Mexican-style meal this Tuesday in honor of Cinco de Mayo? ¡Viva México!

1 lime, juiced
2 avocados
1/2 white onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons cilantro, thinly sliced

1. Put lime juice into a medium bowl. The lime will prevent rapid browning of the avocado.
2. To remove avocado flesh, slice avocado in half. Turn the halves in opposite directions to separate. Gently peel the skin off each half – it may help to slice the pieces to make it easier to remove the skin. Cut avocado into small cubes and place in the lime juice.
3. Using a fork, mash the avocado slightly. Leave it chunky - do not make it into a sauce. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Guacamole will brown if left out too long. Some claim that leaving the avocado pit in the guacamole overnight will prevent this but it has not worked for me. Therefore I suggest you serve and consume immediately.


Malore the Explorer said...

Aly, this is absolutely delicious! I just made it. I love that you use cayenne pepper instead of the usual jalapeño pepper. It gives the guacamole a more even spiciness! I also threw in a diced tomato for a little bit of color and chunkiness. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Urgent mortal issue. As a lover of your blog, I feel obliged to tell you that you misspelled mortar and pestle!!!! (it reads mortal and pestle.)

Love and more love Lisa

Thanks. This has been corrected. The Editor.

Anonymous said...

try adding chopped mint leaves for an extra kick