Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Guacamole Trio + a Tip to Help the Avocado Stay Green




Guacamole is a real crowd-pleaser and one of the easiest appetizers to make. Here in the US you’ll see two varieties of avocados in the store. Most people, including ourselves, prefer the brown, pebbly skin Hass avocados from California because they have much more depth of flavor than the big smooth ones from Florida with the green rind. But if you happen to live where you have an avocado tree and you grow the big Florida green ones, by all means use them, but you’ll need to add more seasonings to your guacamole.

To tell if an avocado is ripe, they should give slightly to the touch. However, in certain parts of the world, and France is a good example, it is a definite no-no to touch fruits and vegetables. Once we were shopping in a tiny épicerie in Provence and I wanted an avocado. I knew that they didn’t want me to touch their fruit, much less squeeze it.  Not knowing the proper French for “is this ripe?” I approached the store owner with a quizzical look on my face, arched by eyebrows, and handed the avocado to him. He took his finger, popped off the little black nub on the stem end of the avocado, handed it back to me, smiled, and said, “Oui Madame.”  So there you have it - another way to tell if an avocado is ripe.



About now I know you’re saying to yourself, “she said she had a tip on how to keep the avocado green” and I do. The tip comes from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, and I know it works because I’ve tried it. Ina says to cover the guacamole with plastic wrap and press the plastic directly on top of the avocado mixture to keep it from coming in contact with air. It is the air that makes it turn brown. She believes it is a myth that an avocado pit will keep the guacamole green and says lemon juice does a better job than the pit.  I will add my two cents here – the plastic wrap placed directly onto the guacamole works great, but only for so long. Guacamole (or any other avocado dish for that matter) should not be made too far in advance or it will turn brown no matter what tip you use.

Guacamole is one of my husband Meakin's specialties and today he has made a trio of variations. Meakin likes his guacamole to have lots of taste, so he adds a bit of cumin for smokiness. Also, two essentials for really great guacamole are fresh garlic and plenty of salt. Both bring a great deal of flavor to the dish, but we believe the one ingredient that separates a "great" guacamole dip for a "so-so" guacamole is the garlic. So, be sure to use garlic. If you like it spicier, add some finely chopped jalapeno for a kick or go heavy on the Tabasco sauce.




Meakin’s Basic Guacamole Dip 
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

4 ripe Hass avocados
Juice of one lemon or two limes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce to taste (traditional red or green jalapeno)
Worcestershire sauce to taste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 medium ripe tomato, seeded and cut in small dice, drained well if runny
Chips for dipping

Cut the avocados in half with a sharp knife and remove and discard the pit. Scoop the avocado out of the shells and cut in chunky dice with a sharp knife, then mash a little with a potato masher, taking care to retain some chunkiness. Immediately add the lemon or lime juice and the salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.  Add the remaining ingredients, taste for seasonings, and adjust as necessary. Serve at room temperature with chips for dipping. If not serving immediately, follow tips for storage above. Yield: 3 cups




Guacamole with Bacon

Use cooked and chopped bacon as a garnish for the basic guacamole. Bacon makes everything better, so use plenty. Meakin likes Nueske’s apple wood smoked bacon or Benton’s hickory smoked bacon.



Guacamole with Roasted Corn

Roast three or four ears of cleaned and de-silked corn on a hot charcoal or gas grill for a few minutes until nicely charred and tender. Remove kernels with a sharp knife and use as a garnish for the basic guacamole.




Have a great weekend everyone and be sure to stop along the way and enjoy the pretty flowers that summertime has to offer.

49 comments:

  1. I guess we're lucky that avocados are so good that they don't stick around very long anyhow! Love the Ina tip to prevent browning, though. And these guacamole look just great . . .love their chunkiness! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the weekend, and the flowers.

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  2. Sounds so good..and thanks for the suggestions.

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  3. Thanks for the plastic wrap tip, Sam. The bacon and corn varieties look delicious and flavorful to me. I totally agree with the need for salt and garlic. Pretty flowers. I've got bouquets all over the house from my cutting garden.
    Enjoy your weekend.

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  4. I absolutely love guacamole.. it's one of my favorites. Your variations are terrific... thanks for sharing. Lemon juice is my go-to for non-browning, but as you said, nothing lasts long.

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  5. Is that a little zinnia? Too cute..

    I never knew about snapping the little stem part:) Thank you..LOVE guacamole..
    We always have avocadoes here:)

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  6. Gosh I didn't know about not squeezing fruit in France. Never been there, but I would have been in big trouble. When I saw Rick Bayless speak, he said heat is guac's enemy also. Put it in the refrigerator as soon as it's made. Larry sent me some Benton's bacon. I'll have to sprinkle some on guacamole. Great idea.

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  7. A fabulous trio! Droolworthy.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  8. Far be it from me to argue with a barefoot contessa... but this barefoot texas girl knows for a fact that leaving the seed in will work. I've even kept quacamole overnight and it works!

    You photos are amazing. The bacon and corn... yummy!

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  9. Oh this looks SO delicious!! Yum yum yum! I want to try the version with bacon. Your photos are beautiful!

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  10. Meakin's guacamole looks wonderful. I would enjoy any of the three! I am going to pass along his recipe to Mr. T, he is the guacamole specialist at our house.

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  11. I use lemon juice and also do the plastic wrap trick and it works beautifully. I am wondering if I learned it from Ina, also.

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  12. I've always used lemon when I'm working with avocados and it's never failed me. The only time I ever seemed to make guacamole is in the summer or when I'm making my 7 layer dip for a football game! I really like all the variety of guacamole recipes you've provided and now you've given me several ideas! Thank you for sharing these great recipes!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Mary

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  13. I am a big fan of avocados and I miss our tree that we had in S.A. :-( These recipes sound delicious. Have a good day. Diane

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  14. I could make a meal out of guacamole. I love it that much. Love your tips! I trust Ina, so I'm going to try the plastic cover trick...though we usually devour our guacamole as soon as I make it. Ha!

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  15. They all look delicious to me and I appreciate the tip on keeping it green, but if it turns brown, I just close my eyes and eat it anyway.

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  16. Your hubby's guac sounds great and the Worcestershire sauce is a new addition for me, I'll try it next time:@)

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  17. that guac looks so amazing. I mean, amazing. I love and crave a good guac and yours is something I am now craving badly. I have heard of the pit and the lemon juice trick. Never the plastic wrap. I did hear somewhere recently that you can spray the guac with cooking spray (lightly) then place in fridge and it should keep at least a day? who know if that is true?

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    1. KB, I've not heard about the cooking spray idea, but I'll give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

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  18. These guacamole trio look so delicious, Sam. I like the idea of adding Worcestershire to the dip.
    Thanks too for the tip.

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  19. All three of these guacamole dips look fantastic. Thanks so much for posting these recipes and the tips for keeping the gucamole green. :)

    Julie

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  20. Guacamole a favorite, Sam, and the roasted corn addition is worth a try. They all look scrumptious. Thanks.

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  21. I could live on avocados and Guacamole Dip, Sam! I really love it. I also love your variations and additions, especially the bacon..yum! Have a good weekend!

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  22. I could this up with a spoon!! Please don't forget to like us on Facebook Thank you for linking to Foodie Friday!

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  23. Before I moved to California, I didn't really care for guacamole - it just never tasted like anything to me. And then I learned what real guacamole was and how to make it and my life has not been the same since. lol I simply adore it. Garlic is key for us, too, along with a touch of homemade salsa. Hass avocados are the best. I love the variation ideas you shared.

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  24. great recipes and I think I have been guilty of touching fruits in France opps he he

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  25. Lovely guacamoles. I found this via Simple Living with Diane Balch. I linked in a spicy and crunchy coleslaw. Cheers.

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  26. Love guacamole. Interesting to know about the plastic wrap. Agreed, the best way to keep it from turning brown is to make it and eat it. Not hard when it comes to guacamole! thank for sharing. Cute site. I'll be looking around for awhile. Thanks for sharing, liz

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  27. Three impressive guacs for sure! We'll be trying this out soon, well, at least one of them. I am craving a burger with the bacon version right now.

    I knew about the tips to control enzymatic browning but I didn't know the "tip tip", good to know.

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  28. Nice tip from the Frenchman, Sam. And Ina's. Those are things we should have down on paper to pass on to our kids. I remember my mother telling me how to choose a perfect grapefruit. If someone asked me to write it down, I don't think I could. But I sure know how to do it. The feel, the skin.
    Wish someone had a surefire pineapple tip. Pulling those leaves out doesn't work. And they rarely smell like pineapple when you sniff.
    Anyway, I digress. :)
    It may be early morning, but I'm drooling over the bacon-topped guac. Meakin is a gem!

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  29. I just made guacamole recently Sam. It was very similar to yours (lime juice instead of lemon) and even the guacamole "haters" loved it. How can anyone hate guacamole? I love Meakin's additions.

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  30. Good Morning Sam,
    I really enjoyed this post about the Avocado's and the great recipes for Guacamole. Guacamole is almost a staple here and a soul food for sure. I am always looking for different ways to prepare it.

    Hope you are having a great summer week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  31. I love your spicy guacamole and your tip for knowing avocados are ripe. Thanks for coming by foodie friday.

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  32. Your photos are beautiful and I know the recipes are as good. I can eat avocado on my new diet, but I couldn't eat all of this dip in one day, could I? I can eat it with vegetable dippers, not chips.
    Sam, I'd like a cookbook with all your columns and Meakin's photos in it. Any chance of that happening?

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  33. What a delicious trio of guacamole recipes! I love quac that has a 'bite' to it also along with a healthy dose of lime juice. I think it's one of my all-time favorite appetizers! I think the roasted corn version sounds delicious.

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  34. WITH BACON!!! Oh yea, that's for me :) Great trio of recipes, Sam!

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  35. Mmmm with bacon. Mmmm with corn. Avocados make a meal. I still wish I could eat half and ave the other half - but nothing I do - not plastic, not lime lets it keep. But the plastic wrap on the dip really does allow it to stay vibrant longer! Love the idea of plucking the little stem. I am a squeezer.

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  36. Fortunately we never keep ours around long enough to have to worry about it turning brown...can't wait to try it with bacon!!!

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  37. I had never tasted guacamole, or avocado for that matter, when I was growing up in France. But now I am addicted to it – I really love guacamole and eat avocados also several times a week. Your variations look quite yummy,

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  38. Sam, Fresh guacamole is one of my favorites...I could just eat it until I'm sick. I'll have to try your husband's recipe. XO, Mona

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  39. Sam,
    We love guacamole, also. My husband uses Florida avocados,salt, pepper, purple onion (chopped), hot sauce and a little bit of real sour cream.

    It's excellent, but I do prefer the Haas avocados myself. I like the touch of bacon--yum$

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  40. Just made some guacamole to do with my tamales. Next time I'll have to add garlic. Being the garlic hound that I am, I wonder why I've never done that before?! I love the grilled corn on there....looks like it tastes so yummy!

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  41. That is the same tip for keeping the skin off from things, like paint and I think it even works on food. That is a frustrating thing about avocados, is turning brown. I often hesitate using them in Wade's lunch on his sandwich. We both love guacamole though and I love all Meakin's recipes!

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  42. Garlic is an absolute must! Tell Meakin thanks for the tip on the cumin!

    Bises,
    Genie

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  43. Tell Meakin I like his trio. I use plastic wrap and lemon juice and I agree that both will only hold the green for so long. The problem with avocados is that they can feel ripe, but have lots of dark spots inside that I don't like. So I buy them underripe and refrigerate them when they are still a bit firm. The avocado may not be as smooth, but it's usually all green inside instead of blotchy with brown spots.

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  44. I love love love guacamole and this recipe looks terrific! Must try this version with Worchestershire sauce and cumin.

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Sam