Friday, October 10, 2014

My really rather triumphant guacamole

Last weekend, I tailgated. The overall night would have been an astonishing bust except for the fact that my guacamole, carefully researched and with final preparation on the spot, was a triumph. It was even hidden under a hoodie and carried away to another tailgate by someone who loved it and wanted it for his own tri-tip steak, and not the across-the-aisle brisket. It was fine with me; his tri-tip steak was delicious. I designed my guacamole scheme from my native preferences, but also from several online suggestions of how to make a reliably great and crowd-pleasing dish-- including Naomi Duguid's rather strange (but heavily endorsed) addition of fish sauce. She's right-- you in no way taste 'fish sauce' flavor (which I don't find very 'fishy' anyway). It just adds a subtle layer of salty smoky umami depth.

A long-looking recipe for the simplest thing in the world, and also something everyone knows how to make. But it's my recipe box and so here it is as I did it and would like to do it again.

My guacamole 

Mince-- truly mince; no chopping, no dicing, no squashing, just honest mincing:
1/2 sweet onion, purple or white; most onions these days are huge, but if you find a small one, you could use the whole thing, I suppose
1 roma-sized tomato, seeds and jelly goop carefully removed
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, according to your taste; or some other small non-lethal pepper

Mash 1 large garlic clove, chopped, in a mortar with 1/2 t salt to make a paste.

Mix garlic/salt paste with minced onion, tomato, and pepper; put in a strainer over a bowl and drain it in the fridge for up to several hours. Stir it and squish it and make sure it is exceptionally well-drained.

1 T fruity olive oil
1 t fish sauce
1/2 t ground cumin (I actually used ras al hanout, not to be strange but because it was the most cumin I had)

You can drain it further at this point, but you don't want to lose that yummy fish sauce and olive oil (although if you let it drain just long enough to release the liquid that comes out from the extra salt content, you will end up with liquid leftover that makes a fantastic quick dressing on lettuce and would probably really bump up some soup or stock).

Pack your beautiful, fine-grained salsa to your party with your avocados, limes, and a salt shaker. And, of course, appropriate utensils, bowl, and plastic wrap.

On the spot, Mash 3 ripe Haas avocados. I prefer it moderately well-mashed-- no particularly big chunks-- but with a fork-- I also do not want a homogeneous blended cream. Add your salsa. For three avocados, the salsa should not be dense in the avocado matrix. This guacamole is still about the avocado. I want the onion, tomato & co to meld, and never overwhelm. Squeeze a lime or two in, to taste. I used one juicy lime. Salt to taste. You could even add some cilantro if you're into that.

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