I’m a guacamole snob. When I see recipes that call for adding mayo or sour cream to the mix, I’ll admit, I bristle a little bit. To me, the best guacamole is all about balance, about perfectly ripe avocados that are buttery and creamy in their own right, accented with a few choice ingredients that highlight the flavor of the avocados without overpowering them. The texture, too, is important – you want a bit of structure and chunkiness, not something blended to baby food-like smoothness. This is really best in the summer when you can get great fresh tomatoes, but I’ve had good luck with hydroponically-grown stem tomatoes in the off season – just use the very best tasting tomatoes you can find. The cilantro is optional, but highly recommended – and I know that some people truly have issues with it, but I’ve had more than one cilantro-averse friend tell me it didn’t bother them here. —lastnightsdinner
about 3 cups
fat cloves of garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoons
coarse sea salt
small or ½ medium red onion
small fresh Serrano chile peppers
ripe Haas avocados
small ripe fresh tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced (about ½ cup total)
fresh cilantro, leaves picked, about ½ cup loosely packed (optional, but suggested)
Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a chef’s knife and remove the peels. Sprinkle the coarse sea salt over them, and mash to a paste with your knife. Scrape the garlic paste into a large mixing bowl. Zest the lime and add the zest to the bowl. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the mixing bowl.
Peel the onion and chop it very fine. Remove the stem and seeds from the chile pepper(s) and mince fine (I typically rough chop the onion and add both it and the chile pepper to the small bowl of my food processor, pulsing until the mixture is chopped fine). Add the onion and chile pepper to the mixing bowl.
Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Gently but firmly tap the pit with your chef’s knife, twist to loosen, then remove. Use a kitchen towel to pull the pit from your knife and discard. Take each avocado half in your hands, holding it over your mixing bowl, and pinch the skin at the center, gently squeezing and pressing down to separate all of the flesh from the skin. Using a fork, gently combine the avocado with the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl, breaking up very large chunks but leaving the mixture a bit chunky.
Gently fold in the diced tomato until evenly distributed. Taste for seasoning, adding additional lime juice and/or salt if necessary (note: if you’re serving this with salted tortilla chips, taste the guacamole on one of those to ensure you don’t oversalt – if the chips are particularly salty, you may not need to add more salt to the guac). Finely chop the cilantro and fold it in just before serving.