I am in love with food. I once had an interviewer ask me which of the following was most important: things to do, friends, or food. I picked food. Duh. Food is something to do and if you’re good at making it, or have good taste in restaurants, you can normally coerce people into eating with you. Boom. Most of life’s problems solved. Given my undeniable obsession with opening a crevice in my face, putting stuff in it, masticating and ingurgitating, it is a little weird that I’ve never written a recipe post. So here we go!
Ok so I’ve kind of already lied to you. By “recipe” I really mean list of ingredients and a collection of rants about my preferred means of preparation. Growing up in Southern California, I have consumed an alarming amount of guacamole, transforming myself into a verified guacamole & avocado snob. I taste all of my guacamole ingredients before seasoning and adjust accordingly. I don’t really measure anything either (I know, I’m the most helpful/informative person on the planet). This “recipe” is plenty for a party spread, or enough for 4-6 people content to eat an entire bowl.
But as a rough guideline, for this recipe you’ll need:
- 2 Reed avocados, or 4 lame regular ones — RIPE, dammit.
- 1 clove or 1/2 head of shallots
- 2 Serrano chilies; 1-2 inches in length & pointy
- Fresh lime juice or 1 lime
- 3-4 pearl tomatoes — I prefer Trader Joe’s, on the vines
- Cotija cheese
1. Peel and chop your shallots super, super fine (see above). Keep chopping until you feel like you’ve lost your mind, then do two more rounds of chopping. They should be so fine that you wouldn’t be able to see it in the mixture.
2. Split the first chili pepper and remove all the inside bits, especially the peppercorns. Cut off a piece 2-3 mm in width and try it. They should be sharp and attack your tongue right away. Do the same with the second. If they’re both sufficiently spicy then we’re good. Too hot? Just use one. Not hot enough? Add more. Earlier today I got one with no spice at all, just bitter and waxy. Gross.
3. Take the cleaned chili halves and quarter them longways. Cut these into 1-2 mm pieces & combine with shallots.
4. Squeeze a bit of lime over the shallots & peppers and mix. Let them sit while you work the avocados and tomatoes. This will help soften the shallots and peppers and distribute their flavor throughout the guacamole.*
*I personally think the magic of guacamole is a unassuming appearance and a punch in the palate when you take a bite. This is why I chop things super fine so that people can’t really see what’s going on until they try it.
Ok, let’s get this straight: the magic of guacamole only really happens when you have ripe avocados. There’s nothing you can really do to save an unripe avocado. If you can’t get a ripe one, stick them in a paper bag and a bucket of rice. Your taste buds will thank you. I personally think California Reed avocados are the perfect guacamole avocado. You do have to be careful with the Reed because their skins are thicker and it is easy to underestimate how ripe it is from squeezing it.
Reed avocados are about the size of a softball and peak in the early fall season, usually August through October in California. Reed’s are super super super creamy and way more flavorful than your average Hass avocado. The center is a rich, buttery, golden yellow when ripe. Their skins are usually smoother in appearance and more spherical. One of the best things about Reed avocados is that you can basically just peel them when they’re ripe. This makes them perfect for guacamole since the creamy center separates from the skin so easily. No goopy, green hands!
5. Take your avocados and remove the creamy center in whatever way you please. Even with the Reed avocados, I normally slice them in half, remove the seed and crosshatch the face. This way you can squeeze out the avocado without getting your hands dirty.
6. Squeeze a couple drops of lime on your avocado and mash with two forks.
*Be careful not to over work it, just mix it enough to distribute the lime. This will keep it from oxidizing while you dice your tomatoes. If your avocados are ripe, this should take seconds.
7. Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds and excess juices.
8. Dice tomatoes into pieces 1/2 inch wide.
9. Combine tomatoes, shallots and peppers with creamed avocados.
10. Try a bite with your chips of choice.*
* It’s important to taste the guacamole with the chips you’ll be using before you season. This way you can account for the saltiness of your chips.
11. Add lime, salt and pepper to taste.
12. Top with some fresh grated cotija cheese and some fresh chopped cilantro (not pictured because I’m an idiot and forgot) and you’re done! Just find some friends, grab some Pacifico and you’re all set.
I know the shallots and Serranos aren’t exactly traditional, but I just prefer them to red onion and jalapeños. Comment below if you have any recommended variations! Let me know how this recipe works for you!