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A veritable variety of versatility . . . . . . guacamole

AvocadoThis famous Mexican dish is of course based on the avocado, which is known by many names around the world. Ahuacatl by the Aztecs, the ancient Incan name palta is still used in Chile, Peru and Ecuador, in West Africa it is called custard apple, in Spain it is known as abogado and in French it is avocat.

It apparently grew wild throughout Central America and Mexico as early as 900 AD. First evolving into three distinct varieties - Guatemalan, Mexican and West Indian and from these there are now over four hundred varieties.

Avocados are a rarity in the fruit and vegetable world as they contain fat but this is the same mono-unsaturated fatty acids found in olives, which helps to lower cholesterol while contributing nothing to your bad cholesterol count. They also contain antioxidants and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E . . . they are also high in protein and fibre.

So all in all a very healthy addition to your diet. Don’t like the taste of avocados? Well the vitamins B1, B2, B3 and E are great if applied externally on your skin as a facial mask!

From those four hundred varieties I think the Haas variety are the best avocados I have found for making guacamole, these are the rough skinned variety. They must of course be ripe . . . when you are choosing avocados there a few ‘tricks’ that can be used:

  • Look for those that the skin has darkened. Bright green normally means they are not yet ripe (some smooth species do however remain bright green even as they ripen).
  • If the stalk is still attached try to wiggle it, the more it wiggles the riper the fruit.
  • Ignore the store sign that says ‘Do not press / squeeze the fruits’ and gently press the avocado at the stalk end (the thinnest end). It should give under gentle pressure if ripe.
  • If all else fails and you cannot find ripe ones, buy the unripe ones and take them home. Place in a plastic or paper bag with an apple, tie up the bag and leave in a warm place for a day or two. A gas the apple releases will encourage the avocado to ripen!

To this Tallyrand original recipe for guacamole may be added many other ingredients for a variation on the theme, such as:

  • diced capsicums (bell peppers)
  • diced olives
  • olive oil
  • creamed horseradish
  • chopped anchovies

Ingredients for Guacamole

garlic cloves finely chopped
tomatoes finely diced
cilantro shredded
red onion finely chopped
jalepeno chillies finely chopped
ground cumin

How to make Guacamole

  • Cut the avocados in half and remove the stone
  • Scoop out the flesh with a dessert spoon
  • Mash to desired smoothness or finely chop
  • Add other ingredients and lightly combine / mix with a fork with a pinch of the cumin
  • Squeeze in the juice from the lime

Chef's Tip for Guacamole:

Use guacamole for:

  • a dip with potato chips, breads, raw vegetables, etc
  • a dip with "Chicharrón" : the skin of the pork, deep fried in oil
  • on or in omelets
  • for tacos, enchiladas etc
  • on steaks or grilled chicken
  • on new potatoes
  • as a stuffing for baked potatoes
  • tossed / folded through your favourite pasta
  • as a sandwich spread . . . well, you get the idea . . . I am sure you can come up with many more uses

Or try my two favourites (for these dishes the avocado, tomatoes etc must be cut good and chunky):

Favourite #1
Toast an English muffin and pile the guacamole on top, top with a poached egg, crispy bacon and finish with another toasted muffin

Favourite #2
Toast an English muffin and pile the guacamole on top, add some red onion marmalade, arrange some lightly fried/grilled calves liver, crispy bacon and onion rings . . . finish with a flourish of fresh coriander and a sprinkling of avocado oil and red chile oil

If you want to refrigerate the guacamole, cover it with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the surface to prevent it discolouring: extended contact with air will darken it due to oxidation

Guacamole preferences range from hot to very mild, the heat will vary depending upon:

  • the quantity of chillis used
  • the type of chile used
  • some chiles (even of the same variety) are hotter than others
  • the size of the chile
  • whether the seeds and placenta are used, experiment to determine your favourite proportion of ingredients . . . you may also prefer to add a little more / less garlic etc

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

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