I don’t brag about much, but I have yet to eat a guacamole as good as mine. In fact, I’ve had a number of people tell me that they, themselves, make the best guacamole, but end up liking mine better. To be honest, I’ve stumbled upon the ingredients through experimentation, taking my cues from my own personal tastes and the comments of people who eat my dip. So, I’d like to share it with you. For those that may not be familiar with it, guacamole is an avocado dip. However, its what you put into it that makes the big difference. My experience has been that most places simply under-season their dip. Guacamole is the ubiquitous side dish for everything Mexican, and most restaurants just don’t do it justice.
Now, I’m going to list the ingredients here, but the ultimate taste depends on you. I’ll make suggestions, but you will need to modify each ingredient to your liking.
- Haas avocados
- Lemon Juice
- Pico de gallo
- Ancho chile powder (optional)
A few notes on the ingredients. Use Haas avocados and not the larger Fuertes more commonly found in the Caribbean. Ripe Haas avocados will have a dark purple and bumpy skin and be slightly soft, like a ripe tomato. The larger Fuerte has a smooth, thick, and lighter green-colored skin and the meat of the fruit is sweeter. It is a little firmer than the Haas, making it more difficult to work with, and doesn’t taste as good in guacamole.
Salt: I’d say this is my secret ingredient but you wouldn’t believe me. Oversalting the guacamole makes it inedible. However, I have found the dip to taste much better when it is salted well. You will have to judge this on your own, but more salt brings out the flavor much better.
For every avocado you may want to use about 1-2 teaspoons of cumin. It adds a slight pungent flavor that complements the fruit well. In addition, add about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (ok, bottled if you have to). It helps to keep the dip from browning too quickly and adds a nice tanginess to it. Make sure to add the lemon juice before salting, since it produces a slight salty taste on the tongue itself. About 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of chile powder (I prefer ancho chiles myself) will add a little kick.
I like to mash my avocado somewhat chunky. You can add some texture and flavor by adding pico de gallo, a mix of tomato, onion, and cilantro. This is not necessary for the basic taste, but really adds depth to the dip. Resist the urge to dump a jar of your favorite salsa instead of chopping the ingredients yourself. The tomato sauces and pastes normally used in these add too much sweetness to the dip. Besides, they lack texture and they normally do not have enough cilantro for my tastes. If you really have to, drain a can of Rotel and dump in the veggies.
On preparation: although the citrus helps to keep the guacamole green, it does brown quite quickly. Make it as close as possible to serving. Once you make it, lay plastic wrap directly on the dip and cover your bowl. This prevents contact with air and slows down browning. In addition, store it in the fridge. The cold will slow down the fruit’s release of ethylene gas, thus slowing down the ripening and browning process. Although it is okay to eat brown guacamole, it is not very appealing.
Serve with corn chips or even use it in a salad. Also great on tacos and grilled chicken. Let me know what you think.