Today is National Spicy Guacamole Day – aka Homemade Guac Day. This is not to be confused with National Guacamole Day, September 16. What’s the difference? Well the spice level for one thing. And today’s Guacamole should be homemade, not store bought.
Originating with the Aztecs of Mexico, guacamole is an avocado-based “sauce” of sorts. Guacamole is essentially a mixture of mashed avocados and spices. Since avocados grow naturally in South Central Mexico and have been harvested for over 10,000 years, it makes sense that the first guacamoles were made by the Aztecs. Super Bowl Sunday and Cinco de Mayo are the most popular days for homemade Guacamole. Avocado sales soar on those days by 30 million pounds. Wow!
It struck me as odd that both Guacamole Day and Spicy Guacamole Day were so late in the year. Maybe it’s because, like so many foolish people, I associate Guacamole with Mexican Foods and Mexican Foods with Cinco de Mayo. Therefore, Avocados must be a spring or summer crop. Wrong! Well, sort of wrong.
Avocados are no longer exclusive to Mexico and Central America. Different parts of the world have different growing seasons, making Avocados readily available almost year-round. Peru Avocado Season starts in late May, ending in September. Avocados of Peru reach peak volume in July and August. New Zealand’s season starts in August and ends in February. Australia and Florida enjoy two different growing seasons with two different types of Avocado. Hass Avocado are the most popular.
Now you know more than anyone who isn’t an Avocado Farmer should know. Aren’t you glad I have all this useless information? Let’s face it, any way you slice ‘em, dice ‘em or spice ‘em Avocados transformed into Guacamole is good stuff.
Spicy Fresh Hass Guacamole
2 tablespoons Cilantro
1 medium Red Jalapeno Pepper
1 Roma Tomato, seeded and finely diced
3 large ripe Hass Avocados, halved, pitted, and scooped out
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed Red Chili Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Tortillas Chips for serving
Note: Red Jalapeno Peppers are just Jalapeno Peppers that have reached the maximum ripeness on the vine. Just as bell peppers go from green to red, so too do Jalapenos. The red pepper is both spicier and sweeter than its less mature green pepper. If you cannot find red peppers, the green will do just fine.
Finely snip Cilantro, set aside. Stem pepper, cut into strips, then dice the strips to mince. Cut the stem end from tomato, finely mince around stem. Split tomato in half to the tip. Remove seeds, finely mince flesh of the tomato, set aside.
Halve avocados, remove pit and scoop out. In a bowl, mash the avocado with a fork until it is nearly at desired consistency. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
Gently fold in the tomatoes. Serve immediately or else press a piece of plastic wrap flush into the top of the guacamole, refrigerate, and serve preferably within 24 hours.
Spicy homemade guacamole deserves fresh homemade tortilla chips, don’t you think?
Homemade Tortilla Chips
1 cup Canola Oil
8 standard Corn Tortillas
Kosher Salt to taste
Early in the Morning: Lay Tortillas out on a cooling rack, exposed to the air. The tortillas will fry better if they are dried out first.
Using a very sharp knife, cut each tortilla into 6 triangle-shaped wedges. Set aside until ready to fry.
Heat the oil on medium high heat until a small piece of tortilla dropped into the oil sizzles. If you have an infrared thermometer, you are looking for about 350 degrees. DO NOT allow the oil to heat to the point that it smokes. If the oil begins to smoke, IMMEDIATELY move the pan off the heat.
Line a large plate with paper towels. Have several other sheets of paper towels ready to layer between batches of freshly fried chips.
Using tongs, carefully place a handful of tortilla triangles into the hot oil in a single layer. Distribute the triangles so that they do not overlap. Allow the triangles to get coated with oil on all sides.
Fry for about 2 minutes, until the chips just begin to color and are firm, not pliable.
Using tongs or a slotted spoon with a long handle, remove the chips from the oil to the paper towel-lined plate.
Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place another paper towel on top of the chips, ready to receive the next batch.
To control the heat of the oil, increase heat to high when the triangles are added, then lover heat when the chips begin t color. This will prevent the oil from overheating between batches of chips.
Continue to cook the triangle chips in small batches, placing the freshly fried chips over a new layer of paper towels each time. Don’t forget to sprinkle with salt while still very hot and fresh from the fryer.
Once the last batch of chips are fried, pat with some paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Place freshly made chips in a basket and serve with homemade guacamole as a snack or start to any awesome Mexican meal.