Cinco De Mayo is a Mexican celebration that goes far beyond tasty margaritas and perfect enchiladas, as it marks the Mexican army’s defeat of the French on May 5th, 1862. If you’re throwing a Cinco De Mayo celebration this year, then you better have one delicious guacamole on the table to kick off and complement the meal. The staples of a good guacamole are fresh aromatic ingredients expertly ground and mixed. While not all of us own a molcajete to do so properly, Lourdes Castro, author of Simply Mexican, lays out a wonderful guacamole recipe that gives you the means to get fresh and robust flavors, without the stone mortar.
¼ white onion
½ c. lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 tsp. salt, plus more as needed
3 Hass avocados
1 plum tomato
Juice of 1 lime
Create a base with onion, cilantro and jalapeno:
Put the chopped onion in a mound in the center of your cutting board. Top it with the chopped jalapeño and then the chopped cilantro. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt on the vegetables. Using your chef’s knife, chop and crush the vegetables until they are very finely chopped. The salt will cause some of the moisture to be drawn out from the vegetables, which will help to blend their flavors. Transfer the vegetables to a large shallow bowl.
Scoop out and mash the avocado:
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Using a spoon, scoop out all of the flesh and place it in the bowl with the vegetables.
A tart tamper is a great tool for this next step, or even a gourmet masher. If you don’t have either, a dinner fork will do just fine. Mash the avocado until you achieve the consistency you want. (This part is entirely up to you. There are some people who like their guacamole chunky, while others prefer it smooth. I like it somewhere in the middle, where I can still see some chunks of avocado but most of it is well blended.)
Season and garnish:
Add the tomato, lime juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to the guacamole and combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro. Delicioso!
Now that you’ve covered the basic necessity, (guacamole of course!) reference Simply Mexican for your entire celebration dinner, like the Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce and Crab Tostadas!
Excerpted from Simply Mexican. Copyright 2009 by Lourdes Castro. Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
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