July 26, 2015
DinoVino WineScribe couldn't resist. The four plastic-mesh bags, each holding five avocados, were on sale—and not because the avocados were over-ripe. They were all—the twenty of them—perfectly hard when he brought them home. All perfectly hard and due to ripen at the very same moment. How many avocados can two people eat, particularly if one of the two people will be attending four outside-the-home wine and food functions just as the avocados ripen?
To make use of the glut, I made a batch of guacamole with three avocados and we ate some of it. The rest I froze, in an experiment to see whether freezing would be a solution. But frozen guac (mine, anyway) is watery and virtually inedible. So we were going to have to eat them. All of them. I spent an hour making seventeen avocados' worth of guacamole, using three lemons, five jalapenos, a minced onion, three minced cloves of garlic, and a large bunch of cilantro. Plus salt.
We ate guacamole for the next day and a half: with our homemade tortilla chips, as a sandwich filling, and finally, just plain eating it with a fork. Avocados are very nutritious, with healthy fat and lots of fibre. But let's face it: two people and seventeen avocados over the course of 36 hours? That's overkill.
And the next day DinoVino brought home another bag of five avocados. He's a menace.
Cut three ripe avocados* in half from pole to pole. Remove the pit: with one careful whack, imbed a knife into the pit then give the knife a twist. The pit will come right out. To remove it from the knife, bump it off on the edge of the sink (don't try to pull it off with your fingers; duh!).
Scoop out the flesh from the six halves and put it into a bowl with the juice of half a lemon** or a whole lime and half a teaspoon of salt. Now mash the flesh with a fork or a pastry blender.*** Set aside.
Chop or mince (mincing just means smaller pieces) two or three green onions, a jalapeno or Serrano chile, a small clove of garlic, and some fresh cilantro. Stir these into the mashed avocado. Some people add chopped tomato and/or omit the garlic. Use more chiles or fewer, depending on your tolerance for heat.
At this point taste the guacamole. It may need more lemon (lime) juice or more salt. The measurements are all by-guess-and-by-golly, because there are so many variables—for example, the size of the avocados, the lemons, the chiles, and the important factor of your own preferences.
Serve right away. To keep it for a few hours, cover the top with plastic wrap (directly on top of the guacamole). You can hold it in the refrigerator for up to a day if you have to (but why would you?). Serve with tortilla chips (preferably homemade, a topic for another day).
*When the avocado is softening at the stem end, it's almost ripe. Give it a day or so beyond that. To hasten the ripening, you can put avocados in a bag with apples or bananas. But don't try to make guacamole with avocados that are not fully ripe.
**Limes. Limes are what you want to use. So here's my confession: we always have lemons on hand. We don't always have limes on hand. So I use lemons, which seem to keep longer than limes. Often limes are dry and practically juice-free, which is pretty frustrating when you're trying to wring out a couple of tablespoons of lime juice.
***A pastry blender is a U-shaped implement with a wooden (or plastic) handle across the top of the U. The U part is made up of four or five parallel rows of curved metal strips, which you rock and press into avocados (or beans for refried beans, or flour and butter for pastry). It's perfect for achieving the not-too-smooth consistency you want for guacamole.