Monday, August 1, 2011

Willie's Guacamole, and a little pico de gallo


Everyone!  I want to share something with the big wide world today.  It's this guacamole.

It is so good.  And I'm not patting myself on the back saying that, either, because I didn't make it - my friend Willie did.

Imagine that last time you felt just so, so famished, like you needed to eat a bacon cheeseburger with barbecue sauce and fries to stick to that empty stomach ... (Oh, am I the only one who gets that??).  That's how a bunch of Willie's and my friends felt after a day of gallivanting around town in Maine while we were up there on a long weekend together last year.

We came back to the house to find a huge bowl of fresh guacamole that Willie and Anna had just made, along with a creamy potato-beet salad (another recipe for another time), which were supposed to be for dinner a few hours later.  But we ate all of it in practically no time at all.  Anna and Willie were nice and just let us all have at it.     

Willie tells me that his mom in El Salvador used to make guacamole this way, and that's how it started.  They used to use an herb that grew in their garden in El Salvador, which he's never seen here in the U.S.  But the cilantro seems to work well, here, as a substitute.  

This year in Maine Willie was nice enough to give me a guacamole-making lesson (let's face it - I'd been waiting on it for a year), now formally documented in this post.  Here goes.  Tell me if you love this guacamole as much as my crowd does. 


You're going to need 5 avocados, 2 medium-large tomatoes, a bunch of cilantro, 1 large red onion, 6 hard-boiled eggs, 2 radishes, 1 small jalapeno pepper, 1 lime (or lemon if you forget to buy a lime like we did), and some salt and pepper.



Avocados should be soft and ripe, like these ones here.  Slice lengthwise around the avocado so you can pit them (the one above is halfway there).  We were a group of 10-ish, so we made a big bowl. 

See all those diced red onions on the cutting board?  That's about 1/2-3/4 of a big red onion.

I'm going to show you what to do with that leftover 1/4-1/2 of the onion in a just a sec.  Hang tight.

This is also a good time to put some water in a saucepan so you can hard-boil 6 eggs while you're doing all this chopping.  


This makes sense, right?  Lightly slice the avocado into cubes, like this, while it's still in its skin.  Then you can just pop the cubes right out of the skin into the bowl. 

... this big wooden bowl right here.  And chop up about half of a bunch of fresh cilantro, which I learned as we were making this, is also called coriander.  Who knew?  I always thought coriander was some completely other herb. 


Now getting back to the leftovers from all of this guacamole making.  This is when we start making the little bowl of pico de gallo.

... So much learning this weekend.   I learned here that this pico de gallo is different from salsa.  Salsa can refer to any type of sauce, and in the U.S. often involves some type of tomato puree (like the creamy-ish salsa you get in a jar at the grocery store).  However, pico de gallo, which can also be called salsa cruda, is specifically a mix of finely chopped and diced tomatoes, onions, etc.


Right here we've got the leftover chopped onions from the big red onion we started with, buried under those tomatoes, along with about 1/4 of a huge red tomato, and about 1/4 of the bunch of cilantro.

 If you're wondering how to chop up the tomato, here's how Willie showed me to do it.  As friend Dan says, Willie's got "some serious chopping skills". 

Incidentally, this is also the part where the following exchange took place:

Willie: This is going to be a very chunky pico de gallo.
Me: Okay.
Willie: Do you know why?
Me: Why?
Willie: Because this knife sucks.

Hey, we made it work. 


Take the seeds out of your little jalapeno and slice it up very, very finely.  Willie did it like this, slicing it right into the bowl, but you can, of course, mince on the cutting board if your chopping skills aren't quite there yet.

Then add it to the pico de gallo, to taste (e.g., more if you like things spicy, less if you like things mild). 



 When the eggs have finished boiling, chop them up, whites, yolks, and all, and add them to the guacamole bowl, like this.

Also add the chopped radishes if you haven't already done that. 







And the finishing touch - squeeze the juice of a lime over the guacamole-to-be.  You can do it fancy-like, with a flourish over the bowl, like Willie's doing here.  Makes it more authentic.

Then mix it all up, serve, and impress all of your friends.  They might be asking for guacamole-making lessons, too, next summer.  
Summary of the recipe below.

Enjoy it!






Willie's Guacamole
Serves 10


5 ripe avocados, pitted and chopped into chunks
6 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 of a large red onion, chopped. 
2 radishes, finely chopped
3/4 large tomato
1/3 bunch of cilantro (about 1/3 c., chopped).  Add more or less, to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all of the above ingredients into a bowl, adding the cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add more onion, to taste.

This is best if served immediately and not stored, but see my friend Lindsey's blog for tips on storing it if you want to do that.  

Willie's Pico de Gallo

1/3 bunch of cilantro (about 1/3 c., chopped)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped, plus the 1/4 tomato leftover from the guacamole

Put all the above ingredients into a bowl, mix, and serve. 

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