Here’s the thing about avocados: Really, truly, there may be no greater food on the planet than a perfectly ripe “alligator pear.” The avocado has it all. It’s a flavor powerhouse; it has texture and smoothness that melts in your mouth like the finest chocolate. Avocados are also full of healthy fats that may prevent weight gain, depression and high cholesterol. The Aztecs used the avocado as a sexual enhancement stimulant (the Aztec name for avocado was ahuacatl, which means “testicle.”). Plus they’re the ultimate summer food. Use them as a condiment, slice ’em up and eat them solo, or make them into a delectable guacamole.
The secret of a great guac is, of course, a great avocado. They must be soft—but not too soft. Better too hard than too soft. When ripe, you’ll feel a slight give. If your finger punctures the skin easily, it’s most likely too soft.
There are umpteen varieties to choose from, too, like the Bacon, Pinkerton or Zutano—but the most common are the Haas (California) or the Florida faves, Fuerte (my personal favorite though is my namesake, the Ettinger Avocado!).
Because of the high fat content in avocados, they don’t refrigerate well, and guac left overnight will often turn brown or grey, though still quite edible.
Use your guacamole as a dip, roll it into nori seaweed or lettuce leaves for a fast and healthy snack, or top off your holiday barbecue burgers with some green goodness. This recipe is a bit spicy, but you can make it milder by reducing or omitting the peppers. It’s brilliantly easy and worth every nanosecond it takes to make.
2 ripe avocados
1 small jalapeno finely minced
Juice of 1 large lime
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
Freshly ground mineral salt and pepper to taste
Lots of freshly chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Halve and pit the avocados. Scoop the pulp out into a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher until you get a consistent, smooth texture. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve immediately.
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