When I was a little girl, I was an extremely picky eater. Just the sight of a green dip made me squeamish. I was sort of ridiculous when it came to food. My dad would tease me with guaca-moley-moley-moley. And, I, true to form, would turn my nose up at it.
Thank God I grew out of that phase.
Now, it is one of my favorite dips to make. Over the years, my recipe for guacamole has evolved. In college, m roommate Sarah introduced me to the failsafe combination of avocados, tomatoes, lime juice and garlic salt. Around the time I got married, I used to make Ina’s version, which is fantastic, but required a bit more prep.
Now, I make a really simple version to taste. Avocados, a lime, garlic salt, pepper and a little crushed red pepper flake are all you need for guacamole heaven. The combination is classic and involves very little chopping. Make it tonight for Cinco de Mayo or save it for a perfect summer evening. Either way, I’d put this one in constant rotation. This recipe is really foolproof, but if you’re not familiar with avocados, it can be a bit intimidating. Here are a few tips.
Buying an Avocado
I’ve finally found a reliable method for getting one that is ready to go. If I need to use the avocado the same day I buy it, I look for one that is mostly firm, but has the slightest give in a few spots. If it feels really soft, I leave it alone, because it will be covered in brown spots once it’s sliced open – not what you’re looking for. I also stay away from hard avocados, which are pretty and green on the inside, but fibrous and impossible to mash. If you’re going to use your avocados in a day or two, pick hard ones and let them hang out on your kitchen counter. Check them in the morning and evening until they’re ready to use. Then, toss them in the fridge.
Slicing an Avocado
I’ve been opening avocados for years, but if you’ve never done it before, it can seem intimidating. Start by cutting the avocado in half from top to bottom, like the one shown above. There is a pit in the middle, so after making your cut all the way around, you’ll have to twist it open. Then, stick the blade of your knife firmly in the pit. Twist lightly, pulling up to remove it. Be very careful. I’ve done this a million times and managed to cut myself just this weekend, because I was daydreaming. Once, the pit is removed, score the avocado’s flesh on both halves making a grid on each. Then, use a spoon to scoop it out. (There have been a few times, I couldn’t get the pit out doing this. Fear not. You can sort of scoop around it with a spoon, though you might lose a bit of the avocado in the process.)
Serves 2 gluttonous adults or 4 regular people
- 2 large avocados
- 1 lime
- Garlic salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
Dice one avocado and add it to a medium sized bowl. Add in the juice of half of a lime. This will keep your avocado from browning.
Stir in the second diced avocado. Sprinkle a bit of garlic salt and a lot of freshly cracked black pepper into the bowl. Begin, mashing it all together with a fork until it’s nearly the consistency you like. As you adjust the flavor and stir, it will continue to mash up. Add a light sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
Stir and taste it. Avocado takes a lot of seasoning. At this point, I might think it needs salt, but is good on the garlic flavor, so I’ll add kosher salt instead. Be your own chef, adding lime juice and seasoning to fit your tastebuds. Enjoy!