Guacamole is one of those popular Mexican foods that is easy to make and very nutritious. There are many versions in Mexico itself, like a delicious one with tomatillos and avocado leaf, as well as many distortions that find their way back to Mexico (like the version in My Mexico
from Zacatecas with of all things sour cream!). Guacamole is often served alone or as part of a botana
with totopos, to accompany tacos, or as part of that extravaganza of a dish, Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña (The Art
, page 287).
There is a lot of advice about how to keep guacamole from turning brown if it is not eaten when freshly made: by adding lime juice (which is not always appropriate), leaving the pits immersed in the mashed flesh, keeping it in an airtight container, and the latest foolproof one of pressing plastic wrap over the surface. (I shudder to think of the action of the fat off the avocados on the plastic!) My advice is don't make it in advance. Have everything already chopped, crush the base ahead of time, and mash the avocados at the last minute in front of guests. Why not? But be sure you have a nice-size molcajete (see page 298) to do your show in style. Of course, the perfect guacamole has
to be made in a molcajete so the flavors are intensified by the crushing of the ingredients—cutting them just isn't the same. But if you don't have one, you can blend the base of onion, chile, cilantro, and salt and then mash in the avocados to a rough texture; don't blend to a smooth consistency—texture means flavor!
The recipe that follows is one that I first came across when I went to Mexico in 1957, and it seems to me to be a classic. One of the simpler northern versions with little wild chiles, onion, and lime juice is delicious, as well as the guacamole with the surprising combination of fruit, chiles, and avocado from Guanajuato (My Mexico,
page 106). See the advice about buying avocados in advance on page 95, and no sweet onions, please!Makes about 2 1/2 cups (625ml)
2 heaped tablespoons finely chopped white onion
4 serrano chiles, finely chopped (yes, seeds and all), or to taste
3 heaped tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
Sea salt to taste
3 avocados (about 1 pound/450g)
About 1/2 cup (125ml) finely chopped, unskinned tomatoes
1/4 cup (63ml) finely chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped white onion
2 heaped tablespoons finely (but not too finely, just prettily) chopped cilantro
Put the onion, chiles, cilantro, and salt into a molcajete (see note above) and crush to a paste. Cut the avocados in half and, without peeling, remove the pit and squeeze out the flesh. Mash the avocado roughly into the base and mix well. Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle the surface of the guacamole with the toppings. Serve immediately.
Excerpted from From My Mexican Kitchen by Diana Kennedy Photographs by Michael Calderwood. Copyright © 2003 by Diana Kennedy Photographs by Michael Calderwood. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.