The secret to this guacamole, the reason that it’s so alive with heat and flavor, is in its method. Instead of simply chopping onion, cilantro, and chile, and tossing them with avocado, I start by mashing those three ingredients along with a generous sprinkle of salt into an intensely flavored, bright green paste. Only then do I scoop out pieces of perfectly ripe avocado and toss it all together. The result is a bit like salad properly dressed in vinaigrette: Every creamy piece of avocado gets coated with the paste, so every bite starts with a pop of heat, salt, and herbs, and ends with the mellow, buttery flesh of the fruit. Sometimes, like the good lime-loving Mexico City guy that I am, I’ll add a spritz of lime juice right before I serve it. But imagine, this is guacamole so flavor-packed that the citrus squirt, a staple in most American versions, is optional.
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, including seeds, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, divided
- 1 large or 2 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
- A squeeze of lime, if desired
Mash the onion, chile, salt (the coarseness of kosher salt helps you make the paste), and half of the cilantro to a paste in a molcajete or other mortar. You can also mince and mash the ingredients together on a cutting board with a large knife or a fork, and then transfer the paste to a bowl.
Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife and then scoop it with a spoon into the mortar or bowl. Toss well, then add the rest of the cilantro and mash coarsely with a pestle or a fork. Season to taste with lime juice (if you’d like) and additional chile and salt.