Growing up in Texas, having a bowl of homemade, spicy guacamole on hand to snack on was as much a part of life as Friday night high school football games and summer days at the swimming pool. My mom would always whip up a batch anytime that she made Mexican food and even at other times as an after-school snack. Visits to Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants would always begin with bowls of fresh salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips. So imagine my horror upon moving to France when I discovered that most people's conception of guacamole consists of a green, gloppy mess that comes out of a jar. Quelle horreur!
Considering that the French have a reputation (albeit not an entirely justified one in this day and age) for eschewing canned and readymade products and favoring fresh ingredients, this might be somewhat surprising. But at the same time, Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine is still a curiousity here. Though there has recently been a renaissance of some good Mexican restaurants in Paris (thank heavens!!!), I think that most of my French friends are intimidated by the idea of preparing fresh Mexican food at home, opting instead for Old El Paso taco kits and other such nonsense. It's true that many of the ingredients are not readily available here (e.g. good corn tortillas, tomatillos, chipotles, etc.). But avocados are plentiful and ubiquitous in France, as are the other elements of a classic guacamole.
Simply put, there is no excuse to buy guacamole in a jar when making it fresh is so incredibly easy. It literally takes all of two minutes! A mes amis français, il n'y a pas d'excuse pour consommer le guacamole en boîte dégueulasse quand c'est si facile de le faire dans juste deux minutes! This is my classic guacamole recipe, which is a perfect before-dinner snack for two people but can easily be doubled, quadrupled or whatever you need if you're having guests or organizing a party or apéro. At times I will substitute a chopped green chili or some sauce from a can of chipotles for the chili powder, while on other days you might find me mixing in other ingredients such as corn or pomegranate seeds. But this here is a classic guacamole at its simplest.
Guacamole is of course the perfect snack with tortilla chips but is also great as a sandwich spread, in an omelet, you name it! The quantities given are just approximations and should be adjusted to your tastes. And for the first time ever on The Mistress of Spices, the French version of the recipe is provided below. My humble attempt to reduce consumption of guacamole in a jar in this part of the world!
CLASSIC GUACAMOLE (recette en français ci-dessous)
1 ripe avocado
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 plum tomato or 1/2 large tomato, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon (or less) chili powder
Salt to taste
1. Cut the avocado in half, peel it and remove the pit. Cut into large chunks and place in a small bowl.
2. Mash the avocado chunks with the back of a fork.
3. Add the lime juce and mix well (how well you mix depends on whether you want a creamy guacamole or a chunkier one - for me it depends on my mood). Then add the other ingredients and mix again.
4. Serve immediately in order to avoid the avocado turning brown.
GUACAMOLE VERSION CLASSIQUE
Pour 2 personnes
1 avocat mûr
1/2 citron vert
1/4 oignon rouge finement haché
1 petite tomate ou 1/2 grande tomate épépinée et hachée
2 c. à soupe coriandre fraîche ciselée
1/2 c. à café de cumin en poudre
1 c. à café (ou moins) de piment en poudre
Sel selon le goût
1. Couper l'avocat en deux. Retirer la peau et enlever le noyau. Couper l'avocat en gros morceaux et mettre dans un petit bol.
2. Ecraser les morceaux d'avocat avec le dos d'une fourchette.
3. Ajouter le jus de citron vert et mélanger (très bien si vous voulez un guacamole bien crémeux, légèrement si vous le préférez avec des morceaux - pour moi, ça dépend de mon humeur). Ajouter les autres ingrédients et mélanger encore.
4. Servir le guacamole immédiatement afin d'empêcher l'avocat de noircir.