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 (www.mexicocooks.com), 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.
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.