A weeklong series on the art of entertaining, for women who are too busy for Pinterest.
Guacamole was my first love. My first favorite food, the first snack I knew how to make without a recipe. To this day I am not to be trusted alone with a bowl at a party, and if we order it at a restaurant, you’d better do your best to keep up. This guac fan slows down for no one.
But lately a flashier model has come along, soaking up all the avocado attention.
Why does avocado toast get all the love these days? It’s all up in your Instagram, swanning around with Gwyneth Paltrow like it’s some sort of health food when really it’s just avocado? On … toast? And do not even get me started on the fuss-factory that is the avocado rose.
Meanwhile, poor guacamole’s over here relegated to game-day bro junk food or a luxury burrito upgrade.
How did we, the avocado lovers of America, let this happen? When will guacamole finally have its time in the naturally lit, Pinterest-adored sun?*
Everyone loves guacamole. No one is ever sad to see guacamole show up at a party. And it’s super easy to make, no avocado-rose skills required. This summer, let’s restore guacamole to glory and reclaim its rightful throne from its usurper, avocado toast.
We can do this. Together. Here’s how:
1. First things first: You do not need a recipe for guacamole. Guacamole is a state of mind. Do not overthink it.
2. Start with ripe avocados. If you have to buy them a couple days early and let them ripen on the counter, so be it. But your guacamole will live or die based on the ripeness of your avocados, so don’t fudge it with something that’s sort of, almost, nearly ripe.
3. Make literally twice as much as you think you need. It WILL disappear. I promise.
4. Don’t hide the taste of the avocado. Your goal should be to make avocados taste as excellent as humanly possible: that’s it. (This right here is why, people, including President Obama, flipped out when the New York Times had the audacity to put peas in their guacamole. You just don’t mess with perfection.)
5. Don’t mash the avocado all the way. There should be some chunks of avocado in the mix, small nuggets of treasure for the discerning guac eater to savor.
6. Now season it, and keep it basic. Legendary Chicago chef Rick Bayless told me he makes it “super simple — mashed avocado with salt, maybe a squeeze of lime and a fleck of cilantro.”
7. Chopped tomato and red onion are optional. If you’re sensitive to the bite of raw onion, try soaking it in hot water for a few minutes after you chop it. It’ll chill out quite a bit. Add diced jalapeño if you must, but I prefer to serve a searing-hot salsa next to a cool-n-creamy guac.
8. Okay, fine. Ultra-simple guacamole isn’t going to win Instagram, delicious though it may be. So why not do what La Condesa in Austin, Texas, does for their guacamole tastings — yes, I said guacamole tasting — and add a topping? Chef Rick Lopez suggests “ingredients with a little snap or crunch, like pomegranate, crispy bacon, or fennel dressed with a little agave and lime juice.” Or do like they do in the restaurant and top it with a dollop of chipotle and toasted almonds, or chopped watermelon tossed in coconut vinegar.
9. Dare to serve your guac with not-chips. Crudité, crackers, pita, or, heck, you can crisp up some bacon if you want to get crazy.
10. If you need to make it ahead of time, put it in a too-big container and cover it with an inch or so of water. The guacamole is too fatty to absorb any water, and it’ll keep it away from the air, which is what turns it brown. When you’re ready to serve, pour off the water and give it a quick stir.
Now go, spread the gospel of guacamole far and wide. And, as Rick Bayless told me, “remember, it’s all about the avocado.”
*Note: do not actually store guacamole in direct sunlight.