I love it. There is no better way to savor an avocado than in a good guacamole. What makes a good guacamole, though, is a matter of opinion.
I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner a while back and guacamole was among the appetizers served. The other guests lauded the flavor and texture while I sat back and wondered, other than the avocado, what this dip had in common with guacamole . Then I realized that outside of Mexico, people probably don’t really distinguish between guacamole and avocado dip.
Remembering back to my days in Los Angeles, there were all sorts of products sold as guacamole. Tubs of green stuff in the refrigerated food section that, unlike real guacamole, said it would keep for up to a week or more, cans touting real guacamole flavor which I assumed could survive in a pantry several months, even packets that required only the addition of sour cream, yogurt or mayonnaise – that powder was sure to last for at least a year.
I never purchased them. Guacamole is a perishable dish and I like it that way.
For the purist, guacamole has very few ingredients. The trick is to compliment the subtle flavor of the avocado with other, contrasting flavors, and then savor the results. Avocado dip, in my humble opinion, treats the avocado as just another ingredient.
Avocado dips tend to use sour cream, cream, yogurt or mayonnaise to achieve a truly smooth and creamy consistency while guacamole relies solely on the ripeness of the avocado itself.
Don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing against avocado dips, my friend’s is really quite exceptional. It should not, however, be confused with true Mexican guacamole. Ever.
The following recipes reflect what I consider to be the best of both. I invite you to try these recipes and let me know which is your favorite.
Just a few words about avocados and their handling:
- I have vague memories of never being able to find ripe avocados in US. supermarkets. If this still holds true, you will need to purchase avocados and allow them to ripen outside of your refrigerator, away from direct sunlight for 2 days or more.
- When an avocado is ripe it will give slightly under pressure all over. Avoid avocados that are overripe (really mushy) or soft in spots (bruised).
- The Haas variety (those with bumpy skin) tend to have a better flavor and are easier to peel.
- Avocados are a fruit subject to oxidization therefore I do not recommend you store any avocado based food in a metal container. To help prevent oxidization, add something acidic to the guacamole or dip such as lemon. Tossing in a few avocado pits to the finished product is somewhere between the truth and a wives tale. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t, I always throw them in anyway.
- Guacamole lends itself to just about anything. Serve it as a dip with chips and crudités, use it as a taco filling or as a delicious side dish.
The following are the best recipes I’ve come across for both guacamole and avocado dip. Any of them will be the first to go at your next party.
Contributed by Dale Hoyt Palfrey
Friends in Guadalajara tell me this is a traditional Tapatio-style guacamole. Along with its eye-pleasing patriotic color scheme, I am partial to its delightful blend of tastes and textures.
Select two or more ripe avocados. Cut in half, scoop the flesh into a serving bowl, and mash thoroughly with a fork. Mexican cooks customarily leave the pits in the guacamole to keep the avocado from turning dark.
Add salt to taste–celery salt makes it especially tasty. Garnish with a layer of finely minced onion and sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top. (The exact amounts of garnish will depend upon personal preference and the size and number of avocados being used. Start with about 4 tablespoons onion and half a pomegranate and adjust accordingly.) Keep in air-tight container or covered with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
My husband Jaime leaves a few avocado chunks for texture and varies the number of serrano peppers in this version of guacamole to control the “heat”.
- 4 ripe avocados
- 1 ripe beefsteak or 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 or more fresh serrano peppers, finely chopped
- Lime juice
Peel and remove the seeds from the avocados, set the seeds aside.
Place the avocado flesh in a glass, plastic or ceramic bowl and mash with whatever is handy (fork, potato masher, etc.) until you reach a smooth-ish consistency (You can make it as smooth or as chunky as you like). Add the tomatoes, onion and peppers and combine thoroughly. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
Spoon the guacamole into a serving dish and place the seeds on the guacamole, pressing in lightly to bury them a bit. If desired, chill for up to two hours before serving.
Serves 4 – 8
And, last but not least:
(He calls it guacamole but we all know better, don’t we.)
- 4 ripe avocados
- 4 Tbs. mayonnaise (no Miracle Whip)
- 1 C. sour cream
- 1 small can Herdez Salsa Mexicana or comparable (Embasa), drained
- 3 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lime
- La Viuda sauce or comparable to taste (Tabasco will do)
Rub a large serving bowl with one of the garlic cloves and discard. Mince the other two garlic cloves and add to the bowl.
Peel and seed the avocados saving one of the pits for later, place them in the bowl and mash with a fork until almost smooth. Add the remaining ingredients except for the avocado pit and mix well.
Place the avocado pit in the center of the mixture in the bowl leaving it half exposed and chill the mixture for 12 hours before serving.
You can serve the mixture immediately but allowing it to chill in the fridge lets the flavors meld better.
Authors Note: I have had this a numbers of time and think it’s one hell of an avocado dip.