There is guacamole and then there is real guacamole. I guess it all depends on where you are and who you talk to, because just like there are hundreds of types of avocados, there too are several recipes for guacamole.
I am (was) in the camp of guacamole makers who adds a hint of garlic and fresh squeezed lime juice to give my guac a bright tang and balanced bite. There are others like the Goddess of Mexican cooking, Diana Kennedy, who is staunchly against adding lime juice and garlic to guacamole. She believes that the flavor of guacamole should come from Serrano chilies (with the seeds,) white onion and cilantro and that the acid should come from freshly chopped tomato not lime. She has devoted much of her life to living in Mexico, studying it’s culture and cuisine and sharing her knowledge through food writing and cookbooks, so I’d say when Diana Kennedy talks, listen.
Hers is a simple guacamole. Rich avocados, heat and the bright acidic juice of fresh tomatoes, nothing more and nothing less. Kennedy warns not to mince any of the ingredients instead, chop the hot pepper, onion, cilantro and tomatoes to retain their juices – mashing will come in due time.
On a cutting board chop the chili peppers, cilantro and onion and slide them along with their juices into a molcajete or a bowl and mash them to a paste. This paste is the seasoning that will saturate the avocados with flavor. Add the avocados and some of the tomatoes and coarsely mash with a fork until combined. To finish, top off with the rest of the tomatoes, including their juices, season with salt, combine and enjoy.
I really thought that I would miss the lime, but you know what? Diana is right, and although I still like my guac with lime from time to time, this version is traditional, honest and damn good. Below is my take on Diana’s true version of guacamole.
Note: You will see that I used jalapeño instead of Serrano peppers, this is because I can always find jalapeño peppers in my market, but not always Serrano peppers. Feel free to try Serrano peppers, I would use two.
Recipe adapted from Milk Street Magazine
5 tablespoons, chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (seeds included)
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
1 ripe tomato, chopped
In a molcajete or bowl add 4 tablespoons of the cilantro, the jalapeño, white onion and the sea salt. Mash until a rough paste forms, about 1 minute.
Squeeze the flesh from the halved avocados into the molcajete or bowl along with half of the chopped tomatoes and coarsely mash with a fork. Taste and season if necessary with salt.
Top the guacamole with the other half of the tomatoes and the remaining tablespoon of cilantro and serve straight out of the molcajete or transfer to a serving bowl.