Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!
We love Mexican food and typically have a home cooked Mexican themed dish about once a week, such as Fajitas, Tacos, Carne Asada, etc...
Over the years, we have mastered our Guacamole making skills giving even some of our favorite Mexican restaurants a little friendly competition ;)
We still like to go out every now and then for the restaurant style chips and salsa/queso, but our homemade Guacamole is so delish that we never order it out any more! The only exception would be if we are meeting friends at Rosa Mexicano in Penn Quarter or National Harbor. We wouldn't dream of going to Rosa and skipping the Guac ;)
In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo today, I thought I'd share some tips from "Chef Sean" (aka my hubby) on how to make the perfect Guacamole!
Choosing The Right Avocado
Everyone knows that Guacamole is made from avocados. You might be tempted to use the large avocados from Florida because it means more Guacamole, but those avocados contain more water, losing flavor in the process. Look for Mexican Hass varieties; they bring more flavor and a better consistency to your Guacamole.
Use Ripe Avocados
Our local grocers pretty much only carry immature avocados. So, if you are anything like us and forget to buy them a few days in advance to allow time for them to ripen, hit up your local Latin or Asian market instead. They usually have ripe avocados! In our area, the produce at these markets is also often fresher and a little cheaper due to higher demand.
If you are stuck with unripe avocados, be sure to buy them a couple of days before you need them. Put them in a brown paper bag with a banana and place them in the warmest part of your kitchen (under a window that gets lots of light or next to your stove-top if you do a lot of cooking).
How To Tell If An Avocado Is Ripe
Sometimes the bumpy skinned avocados will not get soft when ripe because their skin is too thick. The key is checking under the stem. This part of the avocado holds a sneak peek for what's going on under the skin. Push on the stem - if it gives in and you see green flesh when you remove it, the avocado should be just right and not over ripened. On the other hand, if you find brown underneath the stem, the avocado is over ripe. And, if the stem doesn't budge, the fruit is not yet ripe enough to eat.
Once ripe, immediately put the whole avocado in the fridge. They can keep for 4-5 days there. If I don't need to use the whole avocado, I use these handy Lids to store the other half in the fridge.
Add a Little Heat
Even those who avoid spicy foods still want to add a little heat to their Guacamole. The avocado is bland and cooling, so it can definitely stand up to jalapeno. If you forget to grab a fresh jalapeno, a few dashes of green Tabasco sauce has the same flavor effect.
Don't Skimp On The Salt
I am sensitive to salt, but the bland avocado needs lots of salt! Don't be shy with it! Gradually add more salt than you normally would, tasting as you go. You will see what a big difference a little extra salt does for your delicious Gauc!
Use Red Onions
Red onions are sweeter than yellow or white onions. The sweetness balances the salt in the Guacamole. Plus, it has less sulfur content, which means less tears while chopping!
Top With Tomatoes
We like the vine tomatoes, but any will do. Chop in chunks and DON'T over-mix into the Guacamole! The best Guac is a mix of creamy and chunky.
Don’t Forget the Fresh Herbs
We skip the garlic, but you may like it, so give it a try! Cilantro tastes like a mix between parsley and citrus and brings a good mix of flavors to the Guacamole. Play around with other fresh herb flavors!
Don't Let It Turn Brown
Exposure to the air causes the avocados to turn brown. Of course you could just scrape that layer off before serving or you can try to stop the oxidation! Here are a few tricks -
Always Use Fresh Citrus - Lime is our preference, but squeezing any acid over the Guacamole will keep the avocado from turning brown. You can use grapefruit or vinegar if that is all you have on hand. However, we prefer the flavor profile the lime gives to the Guacamole.
Never Use a Metal Bowl - Metal will make the avocado turn brown faster. We use a wood, ceramic or plastic bowl to make, serve and store.
Use a Ceramic Knife When Cutting Avocado - I bought this knife for Sean's Birthday the first year we were dating (9+ years ago) and we still reach for this knife first every time! It's the best knife either of us have ever owned!
There you have it! Our foolproof tips for making the best Guacamole! Do you use the stem trick to make sure your avocados are ripe? Or do you have another way of picking perfect avocados?