Tuesday, February 10, 2009

105. Guacamole (with Tomato) (p. 9)

I had guacamole for the first time when I was a freshman in high school. Our debate team went to a tournament at Harvard (yes, I was a bit of a nerd in high school), and our faculty advisor took us to a Mexican restaurant in Harvard Square for dinner. I remember getting my plate of food and seeing "a big blob of brown stuff" and "a big blob of green stuff" on the plate. As unappetizing as these things looked to an uninitiated fourteen-year-old, I gamely gave them a try anyway. I've never been a picky eater, and I've always been willing to try just about anything once. With those first bites, I became a life-long fan of guacamole and refried beans.

This recipe* is pretty easy. I started by mashing some chopped white onions, a minced serrano chile, and some kosher salt into a paste using my mortar and pestel. I transferred the paste to a larger bowl and, using a potato masher, I mashed the paste together with four perfectly ripe avacados (my lucky day at the grocery store). Then I squeezed in some fresh lime juice and tasted it to make sure that the salt, heat and acid were just right, which they were. The Book's basic guacamole recipe ends here.

I opted to enhance it with some chopped, seeded tomato to make one of the several variations suggested in The Book ... Guacamole with Tomato. The other variations are a bit more exotic: Radish and Cilantro Guacamole, Fall-Winter Fruit Guacamole (with apple, grapes and pomegranate seeds), and Summer Fruit Gucamole (with grapes, peaches and raspberries). These other variations sound "interesting," but I'm sure that I'll give them a try someday.

This guacamole was superb. The texture was smooth, creamy and decadant. The flavor had the buttery mildness of ripe avacado with just the right amount of saltiness and a little zip of lime juice and just a hint of heat (I used a lot less of the minced serannos than The Book calls for). The tomato added some nice substance and interest. I want some more right now.

Date Cooked: February 1, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: A

*The recipe in The Book isn't on epicurious.com, but this one is close enough, just add some lime juice.

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