Avocados, also called “alligator pears”, are pretty much my favorite food to eat. As a kid, my mom would give me an avocado half sprinkled with a bit of salt and I would scoop out the yummy green flesh with a spoon to eat. I still eat the majority of avocados this same way.
Of course I also add avocados to my meals in other ways: sliced with eggs, diced on top of salads or tacos, and one of my favorites, as guacamole. I’ve never been a fan of the pre-made, mass produced guac you can find in vacuum sealed packets at the store– mostly because I find them kind of bland and overly mushy. I prefer my guacamole to be chunky with fresh flavors and textures to highlight the amazing avocado.
Before I get to the recipe, I’d like to share an easy way to dice an avocado. Cut around the pit lengthwise along the center of the avocado. Separate both halves to expose the pit. To remove the pit, use a kitchen towel to hold the avocado half containing the pit. Gently tap the pit with a knife with enough force so that the knife edge wedges into the pit, but not so hard as to cut all the way through it. Slightly rotate the knife to remove the pit and discard. Score the avocado flesh with horizontal and vertical lines spaced out to your desired dice size. Be sure not the cut all the way through the skin and don’t cut yourself either! Then scoop out the little cubes of avocado with a spoon.
Finally, some tips about dealing with avocados:
- Buy them a couple days ahead of when you want to eat them. They’re generally sold at the store under-ripe and will continue to ripen on your counter. To check for ripeness, give them a slight squeeze. If they give slightly, they’re good to go. If they’re rock hard, you’ll want to wait before using. To speed up the ripening, seal them in a paper bag with an apple or banana. To check to see if it’s ripe or OVER-ripe (brown + yucky), flick the little stem at the end off and look inside: if the flesh is green, it’s ripe, if it’s brown, it’s over-ripe and probably should be tossed. I store ripe avocados in the fridge till I’m ready to use them to prevent them from getting over-ripe.
- To store a cut avocado half, I usually cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cut flesh and put it in the fridge cut and wrapped-side down. It’s usually good for a day or so this way. If there are any oxidized bits, I scrape them off before using/eating.
- I only buy Hass avocados. They’re the really ugly ones with dark, wrinkly skins when ripe. I also buy them by the baggie from Trader Joe’s or Costco so I’m not spending more than a dollar per avocado.
1-2 garlic cloves, depending on how garlic-y you want it
1 shallot or 1/2 red onion, finely diced
1-2 tomatoes, seeded and diced (plum or Roma recommended)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely minced
Juice from 1-2 limes
3 ripe Hass avocados, medium diced
1-2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Smash the garlic clove with the flat of your knife and then chop finely. Add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and rub with the flat of knife to make a paste. Add garlic-salt paste to a medium bowl. Add the onions, tomatoes, jalapeño and the juice from one lime and stir gently to combine. Toss in one diced avocado and mash with a fork to get a slightly pureed consistency. Add the remaining diced avocados and cilantro and stir to combine, leaving it as chunky as you’d like. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary and add more lime juice if you think it needs it. Consume right away or cover with plastic wrap in contact with the guacamole for about a day or two. Stir before serving.