I have very strong opinions about guacamole. Fortunately for all of our sakes, this isn’t the kind of site devoted to didactic culinary lectures; it’s not that my way is right and your way is wrong. [Don’t I sound so mature today?] If you love guacamole with chopped tomatoes, or red onion instead of white, lemon instead of lime or, like a former president of the United States, with garlic in it (shudder), you should just go ahead and keep doing you. You’re cooking for you, not me. And I will eat it, preferably with a salt-rimmed margarita or paloma. I have never turned guacamole away; I am not a monster.
But, ahem, my way is so much better! [Welp, the high ground was fun while it lasted.] My favorite guacamoles are more like an avocado salad with a minced white onion, chile and cilantro flavor bomb of a lime dressing. I make it first, right in the bottom of the bowl. I do not skimp on the lime but I basically never do with citrus. Then, you score up your avocado halves, scoop them in and gently turn to coat them in the dressing. Taste for salt and flavors and adjust everything to your liking. You’re done!
Or, you can start mashing the chunks a bit with a fork agains the side of the bowl but I urge you to proceed with caution. What has been mashed can never be un-mashed. If you’re using guacamole as sauce, go ahead and smash it up. If you, like me, like it rather chunky, go easy on it. If your avocados are ripe to the point of basically already being avocado butter, well, the avocado has chosen its textural fate and we must respect its wishes.
What’s most important is that even if you come around to agree that this is the best way, you cannot tell others who are making guacamole for you their favorite way or they might stop and then you will have less guacamole in your life. I think we can all agree that even imperfect guacamole is better than no guacamole.
I always thought I was relatively alone in this approach of a minced vinaigrette coating an avocado chunk salad — most guacamoles I see are much chunkier or blended to a full paste — until I found my guacamole kin in chef Roberto Santibañez’s version in his 2011 Truly Mexican book as showcased in Food52’s Genius Recipes column and book. The levels of each ingredients are slightly different and it’s mashed in a molcajete (big, heavy mortar and pestle) instead of minced on a cutting board and it’s excellent. But I still revert to my way when I make it.
Avocado-buying tip: I like the ones that feel like a Pinky ball, or with slightly more give. [Pet peeve alert!] Please don’t pull the stems out of them to check; it ruins all the ones you leave behind for others.
Do you have to make your own tortilla chips? No, that’s just for crazy people and/or people who bought a gazillion soft corn tortillas a few months ago and even with a serious taco habit, cannot get through them. Should you feel so inspired, cut your small corn tortillas into 8 wedges a neutral oil, heat a puddle of neutral oil over medium until a droplet of water dropped in hisses and sputters and fry the chips, flipping as needed, for a couple minutes on the first side and usually just one on the second. Look for golden edges but take them out slightly on the pale side as they like to keep cooking for a short bit. Drain on paper towels or a paper bag and immediately sprinkle with fine salt; it doesn’t stick the same if you sprinkle it on once they’re cool.
- 2 tablespoons minced white onion (from about 1/8 large one)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced, seeded jalapeño (from about half a medium one)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced, plus more to taste
- Juice of half a lime
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 medium-large ripe avocados