Guacamole

The Aztecs made great guacamole. Well, actually, it was ahuacamolli—literally, "avocado mixture"—which they concocted by tossing buttery, nutty chunks of avocado with green chiles, tomatoes, and fresh local herbs. Today, most guacamoles also include minced white onion and cilantro, though some Mexican cooks add tomatillos or even finely sliced zucchini. For the most part, guacamole has remained simple in its homeland, where it's generally served as a garnish for other dishes—not as an appetizer with chips. Our favorite guacamole (in America at any rate) comes from Josefina Howard, co-founder of Rosa Mexicano in New York City, who advised following the Aztecs' lead: use a molcajete (mortar) made of volcanic stone, and keep it simple—additional ingredients just muddle it up.

Guacamole
This simple recipe showcases the pure flavor of ripe avocados.
Yield: makes 1-2 Cups

Ingredients

  • 14 cup peeled, finely chopped white onions
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt
  • 1 medium hass avocado
  • 1 small tomato, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Combine half the onions, half the jalapeño, and half the cilantro in a mortar or food processor, season with about 1⁄2 tsp. salt, then grind or pulse into a smooth paste. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  2. Cut avocado in half lengthwise, then remove and discard pit. Make crosshatch incisions in avocado pulp with a paring knife. Scoop pulp out with a spoon, then combine with onion mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Stir in remaining onions, jalapeño, and cilantro, then gently mix in tomatoes. Adjust seasoning with salt and serve immediately.
Guacamole
Using simple ingredients is the key to this Mexican favorite. See the recipe for Guacamole »Luca Trovato
Step 1 Grind 1 tbsp. of the onions, 1 tbsp. of the cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a molcajete until all the ingredients are well ground. (Alternatively, use a fork to mash the ingredients to a paste in a wide bowl.)André Baranowski
Step 2 Cut avocados (about 8 ounces each) in half. Twist the halves to separate them and remove the pit with the tip of the knife. Place an avocado half, cut side up, in your palm and make 3 or 4 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts through its flesh down to the skin, without cutting through the skin. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same fashion.André Baranowski
Step 3 Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the molcajete. Repeat with remaining avocado halves. Gently fold the avocado into the chile-onion paste, keeping the avocado pieces fairly intact.André Baranowski
Step 4 Add tomatoes, remaining 2 tbsp. of the cilantro, and remaining 1 tbsp. of the onions.André Baranowski
Step 5 Fold together all the ingredients. Taste and add salt, if necessary.André Baranowski
Step 6 Serve immediately, directly from the molcajete (or bowl), with tortilla chips.André Baranowski