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“‘How do you prepare the perfect guacamole?’ is a question I have often been asked since I started living outside Mexico,” chef Edson Diaz-Fuentes writes in his new cookbook, Cuidad de Mexico. “My answer is always the same: It all depends on using fully ripe Mexican avocados. Their creaminess is just pure joy, and they only need to be gently mixed with a few ingredients for a delicious guacamole.”
“In Mexico,” he continues, “we use the word ‘desflemar’ to describe the action of adding citrus juices, vinegar or simply water to vegetables or chiles to reduce their acidity or spice level while retaining their flavor. In this case, by adding lime or lemon juice to the chopped onion, we are toning down the strong essence onions have when they are freshly cut.”
Adding lemon or lime juice also prevents oxidization, stopping the guacamole from turning brown. According to Diaz-Fuentes, Mexican grandmas traditionally leave the avocado pits in the guacamole to prevent oxidation. (You can do both.)
Recipe excerpted with permission from Ciudad de Mexico by Edson Diaz Fuentes, published by Hardie Grant Books, June 2021.
¼ red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime, divided
2 ripe tomatoes—halved, deseeded and finely chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
½ ounce (15g) cilantro, finely chopped
1 green serrano or jalapeño pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
Fine sea salt, to taste
1. In a small bowl, add the onion and pour over half the lime juice. Set aside.
2. In another small bowl, add the chopped tomatoes and season with a generous pinch of salt. Mix well, then pour the tomatoes into a sieve placed over another bowl. The salt will enhance their flavor and cause them to release a watery juice. (You don’t want that in your guacamole, but you can save it for marinades.)
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the avocado with the remaining lime juice; use a fork to crush the avocado until it is mashed, but still firm and chunky—you don’t want it to become puréed or watery. Drain the onions and add them to the bowl, along with the drained chopped tomatoes and cilantro. Use a spatula to fold the mixture together gently without mashing the avocado further.
4. Add the chopped pepper to taste and adjust the seasoning.