Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best Guacamole

Everyone has a “best” recipe of some sort in their repertoire. My mother has a famous cheesy potato dish. My friend Adam makes a kick-ass quiche. I, on the other hand, don’t have one best anything yet, but one that I intend to make and be loved very much by others, is guacamole.

Via my friend Kris, owner of a successful cooking school, restaurant and culinary tourism business in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (, where I lived and assisted for six weeks, I have learned the BEST way to make guacamole. The secret isn’t so much in the ingredients, although that is obviously a key part, it’s in the process. Because I am so enamored with this secret, I will not keep it one. Read on dear reader, read on.

Until I came to Mexico, I had seen molcahetes before (pronounced mool-ka-he-tay) but had never known their name. Molcahetes are a mortar and pestle combo (pictured at left; thanks Wikipedia!) made of volcanic rock. The rough surface is perfect for grinding ingredients, and great for making a paste, one of the first steps and secrets to making a great guacamole. Plus, it’s a great presentation piece — you can serve the guacamole right in this dish.

The recipe is below, but here’s the scoop on the mystery process. To begin, make a paste in the molcajete of three very key flavor ingredients: finely chopped white onion, seeded and minced serano chile, and salt. In paste form, the flavor of these three ingredients permeates the entire dip. Never again will you get a big bite of raw onion or hot pepper when you heave a scoop up on your tortilla chip. Instead, the flavors become silky and smooth and work their way throughout the other ingredients.

After that, it’s business as usual. Add in your avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice and gently mix with a spoon or fork. Aside from the avocados, it’s best not to smash these ingredients as a little chunkiness adds great texture.

If you don’t have an extra molcajete lying around, you could probably get a similar effect from a basic mortar and pestle or food processor. I guarantee it’ll be worth the effort — just try it. I know I look forward to many happy meals of the best guacamole I’ve ever had.

Kris’s Guacamole
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
3 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1. Combine the first three ingredients together in a molcajete and mash into smooth paste (use a mortar and pestle or food processor if a molcajete isn’t available).

2. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh out and add to the onion-chile-salt paste. Mash with a fork until somewhat smooth.

3. Stir in cilantro, lime juice and tomatoes. Serve with chips or vegetables.


8 Responses to “The Best Guacamole”

  1. 1

    Jackie — December 15, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

    So glad to hear your trip was everything you'd hoped. And thanks for revealing the guacamole secret. Now to get a hold of a molecajete…

  2. 2

    Liz The Mad Middle Aged Mom — December 16, 2009 @ 8:52 am

    MMMMM, sounds yummy! Can't wai tot try this. Thanks Annakate. Let me know how you're doing soon.

  3. 3

    shannontraeger — December 16, 2009 @ 8:58 am

    So glad I found your blog, I think we have the same taste buds. Mmmm, can't wait to read more. Welcome back!

  4. 4

    DJ B — December 16, 2009 @ 9:15 am

    You're definitely getting an invite to my Super Bowl party this year. Since the game is in Miami we should do all tropical snacks…

  5. 5

    winedeb — December 16, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    Hi AnnaKate! Mike sent me your latest note and I am thrilled to see your blog! So glad you had a great time in Mexico. I checked out your photos and look forward to more. Enjoy Nashville! We lived in Jackson for quite a few years back in the 70's and loved Tn. I have a blog friend named Lannae that lives in Nashville and here is her blog site. Drop her a note and maybe you guys can connect. Tell her winedeb in Key West said Hi!
    Take care, happy holidays and I will check back in soon!

  6. 6

    Leah — December 16, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

    Oh, AK, you know how I love dip! Thanks for sharing the elusive name of this thing. I have only known this as one of the many gadgets that people get when they get married and register for everything surrounding the kitchen sink. Ana and Brendan have one of these and definitely make some amazing guac! Can't wait to see you in Nashville in a few weeks!

  7. 7

    Heidi — December 16, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

    Such a fun blog!! Amazing topic with expressive writing: What could be a better study break during finals? I'm happy to hear the trip was fabulous and that you'll be sharing your enthusiasm for and expertise on food with the world via the interwebs. We definitely have to meet up soon, either in STL or Nashville, so you can demonstrate firsthand all your culinary mastery. Un abrazo fuerte a mi Aguacate favorita!

  8. 8

    La Aguacate » Hot Watermelon Salad — August 1, 2012 @ 1:16 am

    […] ingredient I love in savory applications is sweet, juicy watermelon. I spent some time in Mexico a few years ago and absolutely fell in love with the chili-lime watermelon sold by street vendors. It was so simple […]

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