The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy to make that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where our staffers talk you through the process of making the dishes and drinks that they can make with their eyes closed.
My old roommate used to say that true luxury meant buying pre-cut fruit. Yes, the mark-up was more expensive than we could afford on our part-time restaurant salaries, but, he argued, the joy of eating a mango already peeled, sliced from its pit, and cubed into bite size pieces was priceless. This same logic applied to store-bought guacamole. No need to de-pit an avocado or dice an onion. To which I would say, No. More. Store. Bought. Guac!!!
Here’s the thing: When chip comes to dip, there is no substitute for fresh avocado, and the neon-green mush that comes vacuum-sealed in the refrigerator aisle just does not compare. Besides, basic guacamole only requires five ingredients, a knife, a spoon, and a fork. It’s quite possibly the easiest thing you can make second only to pasta—and it doesn’t even require you to turn on the stove!
Start by getting out your knife. For guac that’ll feed four people (or, more realistically when you break out that bag of chips, two), start by roughly chopping ½ red onion (you can also use white) and a ¼ cup cilantro. If you’re one of those people who just can’t stand cilantro, that’s okay—give it a pass. Next, halve a lime in two.
Set that all aside while we tackle the jalapeño. Cut off the top of you pepper and halve it lengthwise. Then, if you prefer your guacamole on the milder side, scrape out all of the seeds and the white ribs. This is where most of the heat lives (in the form of the chemical compound capsaicin), so if that’s not your speed, go ahead and toss ‘em. If you like to live life on the wild (read: spicy) side, leave a bit of those seeds and ribs behind. (And if you want your guacamole really spicy, go with a serrano instead.) Finely chop the pepper and then—and this part is non-negotiable—wash your hands as soon as you’ve finished to avoid getting hot pepper essence anywhere other than in your guac.