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GUACAMOLE

A fine Guacamole is an intensely American Indian dish, from the land of the Mayas, Olmecs, Nahuatls: Mexico and Central America. No one knows where chile and avocado first met, but it was somewhere in the soft and fragrant country of the Tropic Americas. This is a Guacamole recipe from the northernmost part of this world, here in New Mexico on the Rio Grande.

The quality of your Guacamole depends primarily on the quality of the avocado and the savor of the chile. The rest is a gentle balance of other flavors, to accent but not cover the avocado and the chile.

Ideally, the avocados for Guacamole should be quite soft, heavy in the hand and with a clean, oily smell. Avacados picked late in the growing cycle will ripen to perfection in about a week or so, but if they are picked too soon, they will never be right.

The chiles are much a matter of taste, and the choice of the chile to a large part gives the guacamole its character. The best chile is probably the New Mexico green, as grown in the river valleys between Albuquerque and Chimayo. A can of diced green works fine, as do chopped serrano or jalapeno chiles, either fresh and canned. Hot crushed dry red chiles are also used, often with chopped fresh tomatoes. The chiles are a great place to experiment.

Here is a good recipe for Guacamole, and a good place to start if you want to develop your own version:

In a glass or stainless steel bowl, mix together:

  • flesh of two pounds of avocadoes, 2 or 3 cups

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chile, if green, tsp to Tbl if hot dry red. see note above

  • 3 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 medium onion, fine chop

  • Juice of one lemon or two limes, more or less

  • 3 tsp dry leaf oregano

  • 1 tsp freshly crushed cumin seed

  • bit of salt and pepper

Mix Guacamole well together, sprinkle a little more lemon or lime juice over the top to keep it from darkening, and let mellow for an hour or two.

Guacamole makes a great garnish for just about anything, or you can serve guacamole as an appetizer with chips or tostados, slices of lemon or lime, a bit more oregano, fresh cilantro and any kind of chile imaginable.


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