A Better Guacamole

Stop buying it at the store and make a better guacamole, at home.

Guacamole is one of those dishes so many people love, but few actually make at home. I don’t know what’s scary about guacamole but it’s a really easy dish to make, and the taste of a homemade version is light years ahead of anything store-bought. I started making my own guacamole a couple of years ago, but I don’t remember when exactly or what inspired me. What I do remember though is that it was an instant hit amongst my friends and that I’ve frequently been asked to make it again since.

The various store-bought guacamoles I tasted before starting to make my own were usually under-seasoned, pureed into oblivion mixtures with a thick, pasty texture. The one I’m making now is at the opposite end of the spectrum: it’s zesty and spicy and chunky, spiked with fresh coriander, and mixed with recognizable pieces of tomato, red onion and jalapeño pepper. It’s flavorful, addictive and good for you.

This recipe makes a generous 4 cups of guacamole, which should satisfy 4 to 6 adults. You can easily halve the recipe, but judging from the speed at which it’s ingested when I make it, I bet you’ll come back to the full yield pretty quickly. The amount of lime juice may seem like a lot, but I believe this is what truly makes the guacamole pop. Lime cuts through the avocado’s rich texture and brings all the other flavors forward. If in doubt, no worries: the recipe calls for half the juice first, and then you can add more according to your taste. Just please, never ever use bottled lime juice.

Makes 4 cups

4 ripe avocados
1/3 cup [80 ml] freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 3 limes)
2 medium tomatoes (I use vine tomatoes), diced (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup [80 ml] red onion, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
½ tsp [2.5 ml] Pimentón de la Vera (Spanish smoked paprika, the hot variety) – optional
½ tsp [2.5 ml] hot sauce (I use habañero sauce, but you can use Tabasco or any other hot sauce)
1 tsp [5 ml] sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup [125 ml] fresh coriander, finely chopped, a few leaves saved for presentation

Halve, peel and unpit the avocados. Place two of the avocados (4 halves) in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Coarsely chop the two other avocados and add to the bowl. Add half of the lime juice and all of the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Taste and add more lime juice to taste – you should be able to taste the fresh lime through the avocado mixture. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. The guacamole can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a few hours before serving.

Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander leaves, along with a big bowl of tortilla chips. This guacamole is also fantastic served in fish tacos or fajitas or as a side to quesadillas.

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