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How to Make Truly Great Guacamole

According to Gonzalo Guzmán, the chef and owner of San Francisco’s celebrated restaurant Nopalito.

Eva Kolenko

“One of the things that makes our guacamole recipe special is the quality of the ingredients that go into it,” writes celebrated chef Gonzalo Guzmán in his new cookbook, Nopalito ($19). “We strive to find the very best, and usually that means local California avocados that are well-ripened and have the creamiest flesh (Hass is typically a good bet). If you do end up with avocados that are bland, try adding a little extra-virgin olive oil to boost their taste and creaminess.”

Of course, avocados are just the foundation to great guac; the end goal is the harmonious blend of different flavors and textures. “Ample tartness and seasoning are our other secrets to a well-balanced guacamole,” Guzmán adds. “Since some limes can be sweeter or less acidic than others, make sure to add enough lime juice to give a burst of freshness and acidity to cut through the fatty avocados. In Mexico, some cooks use tomatoes or pico de gallo to the same end, but since they are not available year-round, we use fresh tomatillos. Finally, always season guacamole generously with salt.”

How to Select the Perfect Avocado
“When I feel an avocado, I’m looking for signs that the flesh will be soft — but not too soft — all the way through to the pit,” says Guzmán. “This will ensure the best creaminess and color for guacamole. From the outside, the fruit should feel slightly spongy but not smushy when lightly squeezed with all five of your fingertips. If some fingertips feel more resistance than others, the avocado may need a little more time to soften. Let it sit out at room temperature to ripen.”


Makes about 5 cups (serves 10 to 12)

1/4 large white onion, diced
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 to 2 limes), plus more as needed
5 very ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
2 small-to-medium tomatillos, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
Salted corn tortilla chips, for serving

1. In a small bowl, combine the white onion, green onion, and lime juice; let sit for 5 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, smash the avocados with a wooden spoon or a fork, leaving the mixture a little chunky. Add the onion mixture and the jalapeño (if using), the cilantro, and the tomatillos, and season with the salt; stir well to combine. Taste and adjust the lime juice and salt. Stir in the olive oil only if needed for creaminess and flavor. Serve immediately with the chips.

Buy The Book: $20

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