In Aztec Mexico, the avocado fruit was highly-regarded because of it's high-fat content and essential to their mainly low-fat diet. But alas, this was not good news for the Twiggys and Kates of the world and their frail disciples. The avocado lost some of its glory and I will be the first to admit that I too tried to stay away for a time. It didn't take long for me to realize though that this was actually good fat, the mono and polyunsaturated kind, and that packed into this fruit are over twenty vitamins and minerals that contribute significantly to overall good health. So there, trump that! :)
So I opened my arms wide, welcoming the avocados back into my life and embracing all it's good qualities and culinary potential. I no longer picked the pieces out from that bed of salad greens and I began slurping those delicious shakes again. Oh and making home-made guacamole too.
Below is the recipe which was based on Rosa's New Mexican Table by Roberto Santibañez and which is the same recipe used at the Rosa Mexicano restaurants in NY where they prepare the guacamole by your table in a molcajete, a traditional Mexican mortar made with volcanic rock. I did use a mortar to make the paste and then tossed everything together in a separate bowl before transferring it into smaller bowls like the one pictured above, incidentally a favorite of mine that I picked up during a trip to Mexico last year.
Although the addition of lime or lemon is not found in most authentic Mexican recipes, I like to squeeze some of the citrus onto the guacamole to add a bit of tang. South of the (American) border, guacamole is traditionally served inside a fresh tortilla but I prefer having it as a dip with salty tortilla chips or crudites.
The result is a fiesta in a bowl! It's rich, lusciously creamy, give-me-lumps-or-give-me-death! chunky, colorful and sshh, are those mariachis I hear?
(adapted from Saveur, Aug-Sept 2007)
3/4 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 whole tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno chile, finely chopped (if you have Serrano chiles, better)
2 medium-ripe Hass avocados
fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
The most imporant step in making good guacamole is to grind the onion, cilantro, chile and salt in a mortar until you've achieved a nice paste. You have to really get down and grind like your life depended on it. This will allow the paste to enhance the flavor of the avocados without overpowering it.
Next, cut the avocados lengthwise and twist to separate the halves. Remove the pit with a knife and make 3 or 4 lengthwise cuts through it's flesh down to the skin. Then do the same crosswise, like you would cube a mango. Scoop all the diced avocado flesh out and into a bowl.
Scrape the chile-onion paste from the mortar onto the avocados and gently fold the avocados into it, careful to keep the avocados intact. Add the tomatoes and more chopped cilantro. Squeeze the lime onto the guacamole and season with salt. Fold together all the ingredients and serve immediately.
Bonus trivia: Guacamole dates back to the Aztec period where it was first known as ahuaca-mulli, loosely translated as Avocado mixture. Learn more about the origin and kinds of avocado here.