We’ve all been newbies at one time or another. It just so happened that I made my first ever attempt at a fresh guacamole only yesterday. Yeah, I know. It was the first time handling fresh avocados too (/gasp) – I had used them briefly at a restaurant job, but they were pre-sliced, packaged, and used only as a salad topping.
For the recipe, I followed the first one I could find after googling ‘simple guacamole’. A family member had wanted some to accompany a quesadilla night, so I wasn’t looking to make a ton for a party or anything. Truth be told, guac is one of my least favorite dips, and I’ve never been too impressed with avocados in general. Well, one major exception: a pub in the suburbs of Chicago had this crazy bourbon/avocado/chicken loaded waffle fry dish that hit all the high notes for me.
The mats for this guac were pretty self-explanatory: Avocados x2, Cilantro, Serrano Pepper x1, half a white onion, and the juice of a whole lime. I followed it down to the letter, though I started with everything other than the avocado. If you aren’t familiar, avocados tend to brown quickly when exposed to oxygen. You can counter-act this with a fresh spray of lemon juice, but why add the work in this case?
I minced everything pretty hardcore. My knife skills aren’t quite Grandmaster-level, but if I keep earning skill points at this rate, they soon will be. I gutted all the spicy parts of the Serrano since taste buds in this household tend toward mild – I figure I can add a dash of my delicious ground Chipotle powder to my own serving if I must.
Handling my first fresh avocado from start to finish taught me two things. First, I knew exactly how to deal with getting the pit out since I have seen people do it on television hundreds of times now. Insert your knife until you hit something hard, then rotate the avocado along the blade to form an even cut around the radius. After you have it cut, tweak your blade sideways gently to dislodge the halves, pull out the pit, then scoop the remainder with a smooth inserted between the outside skin and the inside ‘meat’. Who said you can’t learn a lot from accidentally marathoning the Food Network on a Monday you called in ‘sick’ to work?
Second, these things are practically alien! The pit is a giant, hard ball that feels slimy enough to be some sort of spherical alien egg. Plus, it’s really green and since were very ripe, the texture is strange. I can see why some people recommend avocado as a butter replacement in some baking recipes – it definitely has that half-melted butter squish to it.
I dice up my alien butter into small chunks and add it to my mixture. Using a spoon, I mash it in as I stir it all together to evenly distribute all the flavors. Simple enough, but the proof is always in the tasting.
And I hate it. Even with an extra avocado added in, a small scoop of mayonnaise, and a dash of sugar, the lime juice overpowered everything else. I’m talking 100% Crit Chance that your tongue was going to shrivel into a citric-acid induced coma. Maybe the limes at my local grocery store are exceptionally large or juicy, but I felt like an idiot for following the recipe to the letter. I should’ve reserved half the juice and added to taste.
Oh well – you cook to live, you cook to learn, you level up.
C. T. Murphy can more regularly be found over at his blog, Murf Versus. You can also find him on Twitter, where he is frequently at his weirdest. His favorite food is Thai, though his roots are in Soul Food, and he only ever cooks Tex-Mex. He’s a strange fellow.