I debated whether or not to blog about this recipe, considering it's for a dish that I find so odious that I've now made it twice without so much as testing it for seasoning. However, I've been told, by two distinct sets of dinner guests that it is ridiculously good. So good, in fact, that just about everyone who's sampled it has requested the recipe, which is what finally persuaded me that I should share it with others. I'm probably alone in my complete and utter disdain for guacamole anyway, so I'm sure the vast majority of you, my loyal readers, will be interested in this.
As I said, I can't stand guacamole, mostly because the texture and flavor of avocados grosses me out. It's like vaguely vegetal butter, and butter is an ingredient or a condiment, not something that I want to slather on chips and eat by itself. Plus, guacamole typically contains cilantro, and I belong to the camp of people with a genetic aversion to the herb. To me, it tastes like a combination of soap, and the flavor memory I have of putting keys in my mouth as a child -- metallic and unpleasantly tangy. As a result, I reach for other dips and snacks when I find myself at gatherings where guacamole is on the buffet table.
Not unlike fruit salad, however, despite my aversion, I'm fully aware of how much other people seem to love it, so I cranked out my first batch, based on a recipe from my of my favorite food bloggers, when Justin's family came over for my Cinco de Mayo-themed dinner. Magically, though only four people were eating it, the massive bowl of dip practically disappeared, and I suspected I might be on to something. I demanded honesty from Justin, to assure that it hadn't been eaten out of politeness, and he convinced me that it had, in fact, been the best guacamole he'd ever eaten.
With that knowledge in hand, I decided to reproduce it for yesterday's potluck. Not only would it accommodate my vegan guest, unlike my beloved olive tapenade, which contains anchovies, and cheese dip, the perennial snack time favorite on my mother's side of the family, but guacamole seems to be a crowd favorite. As Spock said, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." Once again, my guests inhaled the guacamole, and requested the recipe.
I can't vouch for this guacamole in any way, other than to promise you that everyone loves it. The secret to its alleged awesomeness is in the technique: pureeing the aromatics (the onion, cilantro, and peppers) punctures more cell membranes than merely chopping them, thereby releasing more flavor compounds into the finished dish. It seems like a subtle tweak, but apparently it makes a difference. If you like guacamole, I think you owe it to yourself to try it -- it may just be the best you've ever had. Only one way to find out...
The Best Basic Guacamole
adapted from Serious Eats
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1.5 serrano peppers
1/2 c. cilantro leaves, finely minced and divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 ripe avocados
juice of two limes
1. Combine onion, chili, half of cilantro, salt, and half of lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth paste is formed, scraping down sides as necessary.
2. Split each avocado in half, discard pits, and spoon out flesh into a medium bowl. Roughly mash with a stiff whisk. Add onion/chili puree, remaining cilantro leaves, and remaining lime juice. Fold to combine. Season to taste with more salt and lime juice. Serve immediately with warm tortilla chips.