Holy Guacamole…

To some guacamole is ‘Holy’, and a way of life, engrained into the food DNA of a culture. Guacamole is a Mexican dish which appears throughout South America and the rest of the world in various forms. I consider myself a guacamole purist and hate when people try to overcomplicate guacamole which ends up masking the subtle meaty flavor and essence of the avocado. I judge a Mexican restaurant first and foremost, by the quality of their guacamole, the same way I judge an Italian eatery by its sauce and an Indian place by its tandoori. Anytime I find mayonnaise, sour cream, or carrots in a guacamole, I realize that I am not eating authentic guacamole and it’s usually a good indicator of whether I will return to that restaurant again or not.

The irony of it is, guacamole is very simple and fresh, and that fact still does not stop many from making a mediocre end product. There are a few important things to remember when making guacamole. Using slightly ripened avocados which have a bit of give but are not too soft, is ideal for making guacamole. It is also important to never use a blender or food processor when making guacamole because it should not be over whipped which results in loss of texture. A bit of lumps in your guacamole is quite alright and in fact, all great Mexican restaurants present a slightly coarse well chilled guacamole. Finally, refrigeration of guacamole after it is prepared is a well kept secret by many. One might initially think that optimal guacamole should be served fresh as soon as it is made, but the fact of the matter is, that 1-2 hrs of refrigeration lets it settle and allows the flavors of all the ingredients to marry.

Amigos Café in Wanaka makes some of the most authentic guacamole you can find, using lime instead of lemon, and adding minced chili peppers to round out the flavor and add acidity. Try their guacamole on their cheese filled nachos or their unique wheat flour quesadilla, and you will likely find it quite satisfying.

This is how I like to make guacamole which I derived from a visit to Puebla, Mexico a while back. It’s so straightforward that it’s hard to believe it’s that good.

2 slightly ripened avocados (Not too soft)
– Handful of finely chopped cilantro
– 1 medium tomato
– 1 clove minced garlic
– ½ cup finely chopped Spanish onion
– Juice of 1 lemon or 2 small limes
-3/4 teaspoon of good coarse sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and simply use a fork to mash everything together. This will combine everything yet still help retain texture throughout the dish. Taste for additional salt. Cover with plastic wrap or Tupperware lid to keep out the air and prevent the guacamole from oxidizing. Refrigerate for 1-2 hrs. Guacamole will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days until the quality begins to deteriorate.

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