Several years ago, I was paying for my small selection of groceries at a convenience store in Kings Cross, Sydney, when I noticed a young woman from Backpacker Central Casting staring at my provisions: one small onion, two large ripe avocados and a lemon.
“Excuse me,” she said in a The Only Way Is Essex accent. “I don’t want to be rude but what are you going to do with them?”
‘Make guacamole, obviously,” I replied.
‘Omigod! You can make your own guac?’ she exclaimed. “Wait till I tell everyone at the hostel.’
“Omigod,” I thought. “You’ve never made your own guacamole?”
But then I remembered my first encounter with avos back in Scotland in the 80s, when we thought the height of sophistication was to split the avo and serve with French dressing in the hole where the pit had been.
My other guacanory story (Brits of a certain age will get that), is more of a complaint. Could everyone please stop squeezing the crap out of avocados in the shops?
If there’s a little give, it’s ripe. If there is no movement, the fact that you are squeezing your thumbprints into the flesh isn’t going to change that (but it will mean it will have horrible black rotten bits hidden inside for those who do wait until it is ripe).
A gentle caress is all that’s required. I swear, a couple of times recently I have found the indentations from thumbnails cut into the flesh.
In fact, as a result, these days I buy the avos when they are rock solid and then put them in a brown paper bag with a banana for a day or two, so they can ripen unmolested (and they do, trust me.)
OK, so this week’s recipe (if you can call it that) is guacamole. And there’s a dozen different ways I could have gone with this but I thought I might pinch a recipe from my new favourite Mexican food provider Gran Luchito.
This is a manufacturer of all sorts of Mexican foods, from salsas to cook-in sauces, but the thing is, it tastes real. You’ll find their gear in Harris Farms Markets among other stores.
Gaucamole can be as fancy or simple as you want and I have been known to knock one up in less time than an SBS ad break, using just avocados, lemon and lime juice, salt, chilli sauce and a fork.
One of the reasons I like the Gran Luchito recipe is that, like I do, it uses olive oil but not sour cream or cream cheese. The latter two elements shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near Mexican food, in my book. Tex-Mex, maybe, if you must – but not in the guac.
Something else you might want to keep away from your authentic guacamole is a blender – you want a mixture, not a paste – and don’t serve with strongly flavoured cornchips. Why bury the subtle strengths of avo, coriander, chipotle and lime in a mouthful of chemically induced flavours?
Sermon over, here’s the Gran Luchito Guacamole
- ½ white onion
- Handful fresh coriander
- 2 ripe avocados
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Gran Luchito Tomatillo Salsa
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pack of lightly salted tortilla chips
- Finely dice the onion and roughly chop the coriander.
- Remove the flesh from the avocados and mash them in a bowl to a slightly lumpy consistency.
- Add half of the coriander and all the onion into the mashed avocados, as well as the lime juice, olive oil and Gran Luchito Tomatillo Salsa (NB, that’s tomatillo, not tomato).
- Season to taste and integrate all the ingredients with a spoon.
- Serve with the remaining coriander scattered on top and Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips on the side, or use it as a side to almost anything.
I might mash the avos a bit more than suggested here, but never to a smooth paste. I also use lemon juice as well as lime and in the absence of the tomatillo salsa, I add a couple of tiny dashes of hot sauce (El Yucateco Chilli Chipotle) to give it the zing.
I have been know to finely chop a little red and green peppers (capsicum) into it, to give it a little crunch. And, instead of the onion, a crushed clove of garlic will take it to a new level.
I’m looking forward to trying this with the tomatillo salsa which is mild but incredibly flavoursome.
For chips, I recommend Mission white corn tortilla strips or Tostitos natural tortilla strips (although they tend to be a wee bit saltier) both of which you should find in Coles.