Memorial Day weekend is the official beginning of the summer entertaining season. Fortunately, it is also the prime season for Hass avocados - right now they are plentiful and ripe.
And, although the world abounds with guacamole recipes with ingredients like goat cheese, vermouth, and sake and soy sauce, the most delicious, authentic guacamole anywhere, is served at the El Paseo Restaurant in Santa Barbara. The guacamole is made fresh to order at your table. The dish is made and served in a molcajete. The molcajete, along with the tejolote, are the mortar and pestle, an ancient cooking tool used originally by the Aztecs and Mayans, carved from rough, black basalt (although the restaurant varieties are usually plastic).
Late one Sunday afternoon, we stopped in for refreshments. The restaurant had just opened for the evening, and there were only three or four tables of diners. Noelia came to our table to create our guacamole, fresh - to taste.
First, she cut two avocados, lengthwise, and scooped the soft green flesh of the fruit into the molcajete. Using two large spoons, she cut the avocado, with quick, horizontal slicing motions, using the sides of the spoons like blades. (Please, do not mash the avocado.) This method of preparation ensures that the texture of the fruit is light, chunky, and full of body.
Next, Noelia added the juice of one fresh lime, diced red onion, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, course-ground salt, and pepper.
She gauged the recipe according to our preference, asking, with each addition, if we would like additional cilantro, jalapeno, onion: ¿Sí, o no?
Here is a great guacamole recipe, based on Noelia's preparation. It's simple and authentic, a cool, refreshing appetizer to serve your family and friends when you entertain this summer:
Noelia's El Paseo Guacamole
- Two ripe Haas avocados, cut in half, and peeled
- Juice of one fresh lime
- One large ripe tomato, diced
- Two - three large spoonfuls of chopped cilantro
- Three large spoonfuls of diced red onion
- Diced, fresh jalapeño, to taste
- Coarse salt, to taste
- Coarse black pepper, to taste
(If you make your guacamole ahead of time - save the avocado seeds. Return the seeds to the guacamole, cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate - the seeds prevent the guacamole from becoming discolored.)
As with many things - the old, simple way is often the best. This guacamole recipe is one of them.