Friday, February 9, 2007

Wholly Guacamole?

Today’s clip was inspired by a recent lawsuit brought by Brenda Lifsey against Kraft Foods, regarding the company’s guacamole dip.

“It just didn't taste avocadoey," said Brenda Lifsey, who bought the dip to use for a party she was throwing. “I looked at the ingredients and found there was almost no avocado in it.” Apparently the Kraft product has lots of ingredients, but less than 2 percent avocado! As Jay Z might say, “it’s got 99 ingredients, and avocado isn't one!”

Now, I not sure what’s worse, putting out a product called guacamole that has only 2% avocado in it (hey, it was green!) or, suing the company because it didn’t taste “avocadoey?” Can they both be jailed?

Just is case you do buy your guacamole at the supermarket, I thought I would demo a classic version to show how easy it really is. It’s amazing what that extra 98% avocado content does for the flavor of the dish!

The Aztecs invented guacamole, which they called “ahuaca-mulli” which just means “avocado mixture”. The Aztecs truly believed the avocado was an aphrodisiac, which didn’t hurt its popularity with the Spanish explorers.

The original, ancient recipe has only avocado, onion, pepper, tomato, cilantro and salt. Lime juice is a more recent addition. I love the balance between the acid of the lime and the richness of the avocado. The tomatoes in the original served this purpose, but since decent tomatoes are almost impossible to get at the grocery store, I don’t use them and go with the lime. The acid is also important to keep the guacamole that beautiful green color. For some reason people go crazy when they make this dish at home and add WAY to many ingredients. If you’re one of these people, give this minimalist version a try and see what you think.

You’ll see a quick shot of a Molcajete in this clip which is what the Aztecs used to make this dish. While you can simply use a bowl and potato masher as I did, a real Molcajete sure would make a cool gift for the foodie in your family!

2 finely chopped green onions (white parts)
1 finely chopped green jalapeno
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 large ripe avocados
1 lime
1 tbl olive oil
pinch of cayenne


Anonymous said...

Haas avocados have been suspected to be helpful in preventing oral cancers...

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef! AS always, great recipes - I like the minimalist concept, it's very practical! Anyways, we don't have jalapenos in our regular supermarkets. I read in another website that I can substitute it with green bell pepper and 1/4 tsp of cumin. Do you think that will work? Other pepper varieties we have here are the chilli and the finger chillis. Hope to hear from you soon!

Chef John said...

I beleive it would be green bell pepper and 1/4 tsp of cayenne, not cumin. cumin isnt a hot spice.

Louella said...

Thanks, Chef John! Finally got to try this recipe today. I think I might have put too much cilantro (it kinda overwhelmed the guacamole, so it's not that avocadoey anymore but there is just enough kick to it - i am now a fan of cayenne!

AKMoore said...

I agree whole heartedly with you on the minimalist guacamole. However, I think you could cut a few items from the list. Guacamole= avocado, salt, and lime juice. Chiles, onions, and cilantro are optional. In my opinion almost any other addition is an abomination.

medmike said...

Hi Chef John!

Just wanted you to know, I'm a big Seinfeld fan, and totally enjoyed your joke!

Nice recipe and great Guacamole insights!

Thank you!

ninjabunny11 said...

I just made this recipes, and you really taste the avocado and cilantro. It makes the guacamole I bought from the store seem like mush. Thanks Chef John!

Unknown said...

Use a molcajete. Pronounce: Mole-ka-hete

beemo said...

This calls for too much salt. I may be the odd man out however after ten years living in Korea and Thailand, where much of the food is surprisingly low in salt compared to that of the West. I never did get COMPLETELY used to rice cooked with no salt at all (typical of those countries), but after a few years I was happy to eat it with kim chee or other things containing salt.

So when I made this version of guacamole and tasted it, the first and strongest impression was of SALT, rather than of any of the nice ingredients. I would therefore recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon salt, tasting, and going on from there. Also be aware that most bagged store-bought chips are already extremely salty.

Moral of the story: Salt is damned tricky, and the correct amount probably depends on where you grew up, more than anything.

That said, this is a perfectly nice guacamole recipe, simple and classic, and you will find yourself eating the whole bowl.