How to Make Even Better Guacamole Slideshow
April 23, 2013
Find the Perfectly Ripened Avocado
As with most chefs, Duran starts with the avocado when he begins to make guacamole, and he finds the perfectly ripened one. His avocado of choice is Hass, because he feels it’s not only one of the creamiest ones to work with but one of the easiest to find at the store. You’ll know you’re buying the perfect avocado when it’s uniformly black and slightly firm to the touch. If it’s too mushy, it’s over-ripened. Duran suggests shopping for your avocados a few days ahead of time and buying under-ripe ones to let them finish at home. Once they’re ripened, store them in the refrigerator until ready to use so that you slow down any further ripening.
Determine the Perfect Consistency for Your Guacamole
The consistency of guacamole isn’t an exact science, says Duran, because it’s up to your personal preference. "Personally I feel [that] a somewhat chunky guac will give your palate some texture and [some] creaminess at the same time," he says, so he mashes half of his avocados with a potato masher and then dices the rest so there is an even balance of textures.
Starting with the Basics: Salt, Lime, and Onions
As soon as you’ve got your avocados squared away, it’s time to start thinking about seasoning the guacamole. Duran believes that the three base ingredients should always be salt, lime, and onion. To find the right balance of the three, just taste as you go, but be careful about oversalting because of the tortilla chips you’ll use to serve it with. For a sweeter flavor profile, says Duran, try shallots or a Vidalia onion. Along with those three base ingredients, other ones that you can choose to use to add some flavor are cilantro, garlic, and for some heat, chiles.
Adding Some Heat
Speaking of heat, deciding on what kind and how much is an important step in making your guacamole. Duran likes using serrano chiles and jalapeños. For a hotter guacamole, he’ll leave the seeds in; for a milder one, he’ll take them out.
Order of Steps
Now that your ingredients are in place, all you have to do is put them together, but doing that in the right order is important, says Duran. To bring out the best flavors in your guacamole, start by making a paste out of the base ingredients (lime juice, onion, and salt). Add in cilantro, garlic, and other ingredients if you’re using them, but remember to set some aside for the end so that you’ll have chunky bites of these ingredients as well. Mix your mashed guacamole into the paste, and then you’re ready to fold in the rest.
Make It Your Own
Finishing up the guacamole is how you make it your own, says Duran, because there is nothing easier than customizing guacamole with one simple ingredient. He suggests folding in fun ingredients like finely diced Granny Smith apples, mangos, radishes, cilantro, or pickled jalapeños to add some color to your guacamole. "The guacamole should reflect who you are!" he says.
Pair It Well
Tortilla chips are the traditional accompaniment to guacamole, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Other great ideas include pita chips, pork rinds, pretzels, and fresh crudité.
Store It Properly
If you’re not serving your guacamole right away, you need to make sure you store it properly so that it doesn’t spoil. Because avocado is a green fruit, it can oxidize when exposed to light and air. For the best storage, squeeze some extra lime juice on the guacamole, because the acid slows down the browning, and place plastic wrap directly onto the surface before putting it in the fridge.
Serve It Right
"There's nothing worse than trying to scoop up some guac from a deep bowl and getting your fingers covered with it," says Duran. To avoid this, he turns to his indispensable serving dish: an authentic lava rock molcajete. It's made of natural stone and has a wide diameter for easier access to the guacamole. Best of all, it looks awesome on the table. Duran recommends IMUSA’s line because they’re made from ultra-durable natural volcanic lava rock, which provides a distinct texture for guacamole, salsa, and dips.
Another Perfect Guacamole
Yet again, we have another perfect guacamole recipe to work with. This one allows for creativity and flexibility, while keeping all of the basic principles of making guacamole intact.