I was given some very good advice recently, and whether related to your current friends, your living situation, your job, your finances, or something else, it applies: take what you have right now and learn everything you can from it.
It’s maybe not a very new idea, but its impact is undeniable, even with something simple – like, say, an avocado.
I hated the idea of an avocado when I was little – similar to the way I hated the idea of tomatoes and onions and certain types of cheese.
But finally, at some point, I tried some guacamole with tortilla chips.
And then, later, I had some sliced avocado on a sandwich. Eventually I encountered it in some type of sushi, and though the process had been very gradual, I was sold.
A friend and I were talking about our history with avocados recently, and I took this as a sign that I should buy some.
I purchased three. There was no rhyme or reason behind the number; I don’t even think there was a special sale going on.
I took them, threw them in a plastic bag and into my cart, and skirted the remainder of the produce section.
Later, at home, I tried to cut into one, planning to recreate the dip that I’d had many times at On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, made right in front of me at the table.
And here’s where the learning began, before I even got started with my experiments to craft the perfect recipe – if the avocado feels firm to the touch, it’s not ripe yet. And it won’t continue to ripen if you cut the peel.
Even though I’d grown to love avocados at this point, I wasn’t exactly an expert at buying them, and I hadn’t taken the time to consider their ripeness at the store. Whoops.
Over a week went by with me squeezing the fruit every time I’d pass them on the counter, trying to determine if they were finally soft with something close to the spreadable consistency I’d seen in real-life demonstrations at the restaurant, alongside a bowl of chips.
When they were, with the skin giving a little when I pushed, I sliced them in half lengthwise, spooned out the pits, and scooped out bright green flesh that was as soft as butter that’s been sitting on the counter.
The resulting guacamole was fine – good, even – a simple blend of tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and jalapeno.
It even made an impromptu addition to a dinner party spread, after it had darkened a little and we stirred it together to make it seem fresher. But I didn’t have the proportions quite right, and it still needed a little tinkering.
The brilliance of tableside guacamole service dawned on me at this point – the freshest possible avocado dip is always best, served and eaten right away, before it has time to oxidize.
The thing about learning to cook is that it’s an awful lot like learning anything else – you gather information, you test, you try. But in this case, there’s one chief advantage: you get to eat it all in the end.
After a few more attempts, here’s the best version I’ve come up with. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe you can even convince some avocado-haters to change their minds!Print
Made with simple ingredients, this is the best guacamole you’ll ever taste – so much better than the premade, packaged stuff.
- 2 ripe avocados
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp diced tomato, seeds removed
- 2 Tbsp diced jalapenos (if you don’t like it too spicy, remove the seeds)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp finely diced red onion
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove minced garlic)
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the pits and place the avocado in a bowl. Mash with a fork until chunky.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon until everything is combined well.
- Serve immediately.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure
Cut the avocados in half. Carefully remove the pits and remove the flesh of the avocado from the peel. Place in medium-sized bowl and set aside.
Prepare the other vegetables by seeding and dicing the tomato. Dice the jalapeno and finely dice the red onion.
Remove the stems and chop the fresh cilantro roughly, or finely, depending on your preference.
Measure remaining ingredients and set aside.
Step 2 – Mash Avocado
Mash the avocado lightly with the back of a fork.
You can also use a molcajete if you have one. This traditional Mexican mortar and pestle is great for mashing the avocado in, and also for serving the guacamole with an authentic flair.
Step 3 – Add Remaining Ingredients and Serve
Add all of the remaining ingredients to the mashed avocado. Stir until well-combined, and serve immediately.
I like to use garlic powder in my dip, since I think it helps to distribute the flavor more evenly with a less sharp taste. But you could use minced fresh garlic instead – just grate it finely or use your garlic press to prepare it.
Simple Ingredients and Fresh Flavors Are All You Need
I am a firm believer that simple ingredients always make the best food, and that is exceptionally true for this particular dip.
Creamy and flavorful, it’s all about getting the right texture and highlighting the natural flavors of the ingredients that go into the mix. Just like what I enjoyed at the restaurant so many times, it’s a mixture of simple ingredients that are thoughtfully combined, selected at the peak of ripeness and carefully prepped, melding together to make something that’s truly great.
Of course, everyone has their own opinion about how chunky or smooth guacamole should be. I think a more chunky guacamole helps to emphasize the creaminess of the ripe fruit, contrasted with the slight crunch of peppers and onions in every single bite.
If you like your guacamole more creamy, you are welcome to mash up the avocado into more of a smooth mixture before incorporating the other ingredients. The diced vegetables will still offer some texture, with bright flavors that will thrill your taste buds.
All your need are some tortilla chips or dipping! Open up a bag, or try our recipe for a homemade flour version. And for something a little different to continue your journey of avocado exploration, try our recipe for a creamy chilled avocado coconut soup.
How do you like your guacamole? Rate the recipe once you try it and tell us what you think of this homemade, fresh dip in the comments below.
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Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on May 20th, 2009. Last updated: June 1, 2018 at 17:53 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Bassett and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.