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Sunday, May 01, 2016

The guacamole recipe that launched 1000 ships

By popular demand... this is the guacamole recipe I started making as a bartender for Manhattan penthouse parties in college, and which I've evolved over the years through trial and error (and accident, as when I kept adding "salt" and couldn't taste it but wondered why the guacamole tasted so sweet!)
I guarantee that any group of 15+ people will finish it and scrape the bowl.
Get a large bowl, and mix the following ingredients:
* 5 or so avocados
Make sure you get avocados that are just ripe, which can be tricky. you want them to be a little bit smushy, but not so smushy that there's any dark brown color when you open them up. if your supermarket only has very hard avocados, the best thing to do is to buy them 3 days before you want to make the guacamole, and they will ripen just sitting on your kitchen counter. if you want them to ripen quickly, people say to put them together in a brown paper bag.
Cut open the avocados by slicing in a circle from the top to the bottom and continuing around until you reach the beginning of your cut again.
Twist the two halves and pull them apart; one of the two halves will have the pit in it. The easiest way to get the pit out is to hack a big kitchen knife right into it so it goes in pretty deeply, then twist the knife to the side (don't tilt it, twist it like clockwise or counterclockwise) and the pit will come out still attached to the knife. Then you can just whack the knife against your trash can and the pit should fly off into the trash. (Keep one pit to pit in the middle of the guacamole when you're done making it, as a decoration.)
Now take a large soup spoon and scoop out the flesh of the avocado into a big bowl. You can dig the spoon all the way against the avocado skin so you get all of the flesh. If you're doing this right it shouldn't take more than a few seconds to get most of the avocado flesh out of the skin. discard the skin. If there are any dark brown parts of the avocado, cut those away and discard them, or your guacamole will taste like it's gone bad.
* limes: one for every 2 avocados.
This is as unusually lime-heavy guacamole recipe!
You can juice the limes, or just cut them in half, stick a fork in, and crush the half around the form while grinding it back and forth; it's great to get some lime pulp in there.
Add the limes right away, because the citric acid will keep the avocado from browning in the air.
* 4 shallots (because of their mildness), or 1 medium white/yellow onion (because of its sharpness), or a combination (my preference)
Mince these very finely. The idea is that you want to taste them, but not have them be overpowering.
* several large cloves of garlic, depending on how garlicky you like it
I put in about half a small head of garlic -- maybe 5 cloves. Mince finely, or even better, mash it with the salt in a garlic press or with a mortar and pestle (or even just the bottom of a mug, and then mince it) so that the salt soaks up the garlic juice.
(Another option is to take a whole head of garlic, pull off most of the skin, wrap the cloves up in tin foil with a dash of vegetable oil, and

roast it in the oven on 400 degrees for 15 minutes -- the garlic will
be sweeter and have a deep, rich flavor. You might want to mince some fresh garlic as well to keep some bite.)

* salt: to taste, about 3 teaspoons
I recommend kosher salt, but any salt will do.
This is the easiest step to get wrong by using too much or too little, so keep tasting it and adding salt slowly. Ask other people to taste it.
Make sure you try it with the chips you are serving it with, because if they are very salty you don't need as much salt.
* sugar: to taste, about 1 teaspoon
This is a secret ingredient. You don't want to add so much that it is noticeably sweet, you just want to take the edge off the onion and lime a bit.
Mix with a fork. Don't mix forever, because it's fun when there are chunks of avocado.
You can add chopped tomato or sour cream or neither... totally optional. Don't add too much of either.
The bowl you mix it in will be pretty messy, so you might want to clean up the edge with a paper towel or transfer it to a more pretty bowl.