The Three Cardinal Rules of Guacamole, With Two Variations

Making guacamole isn’t rocket science, right?  A chip-chop here, a little mashy-mash there, and you have guacamole, right?  You’re probably wondering why I even felt the need to post about it.  Well, I never turn down guacamole no matter what, and I’ve tasted enough not-quite-revelatory bowls of guac to know that it’s easy, but maybe not as straightforward as one may think.  I may be coming across as a bit of a guac snob right now, but I think all of us have at least one food that turns us into a shameless know-it-all.

What makes the perfect bowl of guacamole, you ask?  Mine is made from perfectly ripe avocados, mashed just enough to create a combination of buttery smoothness and mouth-pleasing texture.  It’s seasoned perfectly, with enough acid to just shine through, and enough salt to lock the flavors into place.

So without further ado, allow me to bestow upon you,

The Three Cardinal Rules of Guacamole-Making:

1. Choose Wisely.  Rock hard avocados are only good for breaking glass, and, well you’ve probably experienced what happens to the over-ripe ones.  Not a pretty sight.  Pick avocados that are of a dark color that give just a little when squeezed lightly.

2. Thou Shalt Not Over-Mash.  You know that chemical-y, slightly spoiled taste you get from over-ripe avocados (or bananas, for that matter)?  I could try to give you a fabricated scientific explanation, but I’ll just speak from experience here–over-mashing will spoil your beautifully ripe avocados.  Once your avocados are mashed with some texture remaining, the key is to gently fold in the rest of your ingredients.

3. Don’t Be Shy, Season To Taste… with salt and lime juice.  Not only will your guacamole taste balanced and lively, but with enough acid, it won’t turn brown nearly as fast.

Below, I’ve shared my classic, more traditional guacamole, as well as a springy variation using some purple scallions I bought at the farmers market.  Start with the rules, and then consider your creation a very nom-able blank canvas, and bling it up as you wish with onions, peppers, cilantro, or any other combination you can dream up.

Classic Guacamole

Serves 4-5 as an appetizer

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (Give or take, to taste)
  • salt to taste, approximately 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 1 habañero, minced (optional, if you like it spicy)
  • 1/2 medium yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • leaves and upper stems from a small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

Slice the avocados in half around the pit.  Remove the pit.  Score the inside of the avocado flesh with a butter knife, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl with a spoon.  Repeat with the remaining avocados.  Add the lime juice and salt.  Mash the avocado pieces against the side of the bowl using a fork until mostly smooth with some texture remaining.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and gently fold and stir them into the mashed avocado.  Adjust lime juice and salt to taste.

 Lemon-Scallion Guacamole

Serves 4-5 as an appetizer

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • Salt to taste, approx. 1/2 teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Slice the avocados in half around the pit.  Remove the pit.  Score the inside of the avocado flesh with a butter knife, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl with a spoon.  Repeat with the remaining avocados.  Add the lemon juice and salt.  Mash the avocado pieces against the side of the bowl using a fork until mostly smooth with some texture remaining.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and gently fold and stir them into the mashed avocado.  Adjust lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Other Variations:

•Lime juice+grated ginger+scallion+cilantro+thai chiles

•Sundried tomato+red onion+cilantro+lemon juice

•Mashed roasted garlic+lemon juice+grated lemon zest

Other swoon-inducing avocado recipes:

Avocado-Mango Salsa with Homemade Tortilla Chips

Avocado Eggrolls with Asian Ginger Slaw and Sweet Chile-Lime Dipping Sauce

Black Bean Patties with Corn Relish and Avocado Cream Sauce by Annie’s Eats

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches with Pesto Avocado Spread by Tartelette

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Three Cardinal Rules of Guacamole, With Two Variations

  1. Karissa

    Thanks for the rules! I am guilty of over-mashing.
    I really enjoyed the setup of your photographs. The doily-red and basket backdrops were lovely to compliment the green of your guac.

  2. Maria O'Brien

    Yummy!! I love guacamole and it’s nice to have a few variations so you don’t get bored with the same old thing. Beautiful photos as always!

  3. i’ve also been told that leaving the pits of the avocados in the guac (but not eating them!) keeps the guac from turning brown! i’ve never managed to have leftovers but that’s what i’ve heard 🙂

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