It's been a while since I posted a recipe...
Tonight after church they had a Mexican dinner (we have dinner after every service - I think it is awesome). I had signed up to bring guacamole. For one, because I make good guac, if I say so myself. For another, this weekend was supposed to be a major system upgrade at work (note the "supposed to be" - let's just leave it at that and move on, shall we?) I figured I wouldn't have time to make anything real involved, and guacamole is easy. After missing church and losing a day of my life at work I came home and made the guacamole as comfort food. And it helped.
I don't care if my guac is "authentic," I just know I like it. It has had two major influences over the years. The first was the Wondervu Cafe at the top of Coal Creek Canyon in Colorado. When I lived up in the canyon in 1993-94 going there was a Friday night tradition and their guacamole quickly became a favorite. That was where I figured out the first rule of good guac: the avocados are basically green glue for onions and salt. If you come away from eating fresh guacamole and your breath doesn't stink, it wasn't very good guac.
That kept me satisfied for years. I experimented with adding a bit of cilantro, lime juice, etc., but if all I had were avocados, onions and salt, I was happy. Still am, actually. But it can get better. The second influence was El Torito Grill next to the Hilton in Torrance, California. For three years in a row from 2006 to 2008 I stayed there a week at a time and ended up eating at the El Torito four to five times each week. They make guacamole right at your table - it doesn't get any fresher than that! The menu now shows three types of "Guacamole de Molcajete," but I've only had the first one, and it is delicious. Now I tend to take my general direction from them with a few additions, because cooking is about making things your own.
So, with that background, here is my "recipe" for guacamole.
- 2-4 ripe avocados (you want them a bit soft - not too hard, not too mushy)
- ½-1 onion, diced fine (red or white are best)
- salt to taste (I like it salty, say 1 heaped tsp for this recipe)
Optional (one, more or all of these to taste)
- juice from ½-1 fresh lime
- 1+ Tbs chopped fresh cilantro (some people hate it, I love it - you decide)
- diced fresh tomato (I used the last four small Romas from the garden this year)
- finely diced fresh chilies (El Torito Grill uses Serranos or Habaneros, tonight I used one finely minced Hab from the garden - leave out if you are not a hot-head)
- grated Parmesan cheese (or better, one of these hard Mexican cheeses, if you have them available - we don't here in the middle of nowhere)
The grated cheese is El Torito's secret weapon, I think. They don't put it on their list of ingredients in their menu, but it really makes a difference. I believe they are use Cotija Añejo.
The other "secret" is fresh - everything should be fresh, fresh, fresh.
Halve the avocados, scoop them into a bowl with a spoon, and "mush" them a bit with a fork. Stir in all the other ingredients except the grated hard cheese, which goes on top. Serve immediately, or if it needs to sit for a while cover it with plastic wrap smooshed right down on top of the guac itself to seal out all air and keep it from turning color (and if you do this, don't put the cheese on until you serve it). Serve with fresh tortilla chips. For those of you of the ethanol-imbibing persuasion I need not tell you cervezas or margaritas are good with this.
Serves however many can elbow in and fight a few scoopfuls from the bowl before it is gone. Tonight it served one, generously.