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January 2001 Issue
Chunky Salsa
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

Greetings! I hope all of you had Happy Holidays. This month's column brings a recipe that was presented some time ago -- guacamole -- but this time made from scratch with pictures so you can see how the dish is prepared.

A few comments about this recipe. The chili of choice for guacamole is the Anaheim Chili. These are common to most supermarkets, and are standard fare in authentic Mexican cooking. In the previous guacamole recipe, I suggested that one used canned Ortega chili and canned tomatoes. This time, I am illustrating how to prepare fresh fire roasted chiles. I think you will find the results quite pleasant.

I have also suggested some recipe ideas for you to try. While guacamole is a versatile food, it does not have a long shelf life. So, it is best to prepare only the amount you will need for a specific meal, reserving any remaining avocados for a fresh batch at a later time.

Any type of avocado can be used to make guacamole. Each avocado type will produce a slightly different flavor. I prefer tree ripened Fuertes avocados. These fruit have a smooth green skin that darkens as they approach ripeness. The Fuertes seems to produce a richer flavor of guacamole than other varieties. They are also generally larger than the Haas variety. If your fruit is not tree ripened, simply leave them on the kitchen counter for a couple of days and they will ripen up naturally. You will know when the avocado is ready to eat when it is no longer hard, but has a slight give when squeezed, just beginning to turn soft.

The recipe presented this month is from my yet to be published cookbook, Phil's Family and Friends Cookbook. Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests.

Now, on to the recipe!

 

Chunky Salsa

Guacamole is a traditional accompaniment to any Mexican meal. Here is how my grandmother made guacamole:
  • 2 to 3 whole large Fuertes avocados
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 fire roasted Aneheim Chili, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely diced.
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced (or equivalent fresh tomato), about 3/4 cup
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
First, prepare each chili as follows: Using the stem of the chili to handle, roast each chili over a gas burner until the skin is evenly charred on all sides, top to bottom. Doing this will produce a wonderful aroma in the kitchen and add a unique roasted flavor to the chiles. If you do not have a gas burner, or if you are preparing a large quantity of chilies, place them on a roasting pan and broil them in the oven, turning frequently. Once they look like the chiles illustrated below, you are ready to clean and peel them.
Now, split each chili open lengthwise, cut off the stem, and remove the seeds.
Next, peel the charred outside of each chili with your fingers. Don't worry if a little of the skin stays on. Most of the charred portion should come off easily.
Lay the chiles flat on a cutting board and slice lengthwise into thin strips.
Then, cut crosswise to dice the strips into small pieces.
Next, cut each of the avocados in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the fruit into a mixing bowl.
Dice the tomatoes, onion and garlic.
Add all of the diced ingredients to the mixing bowl with the avocado and mix with a fork or spoon until well blended.
Finally, add the chopped cilantro, lemon juice and grated cheese.
A squeeze of lemon juice helps the mixture retain color.

Note: Placing one of the seeds from an avocado into the guacamole mixture also seems to help preserve the freshness and color.

Serve promptly and enjoy!

Recipe Ideas:

  1. Try putting guacamole inside of a hamburger instead of the traditional tomato, cheese and onion.

  2. Serve guacamole with tortilla chips as an appetizer to a Mexican meal.

  3. Wrap some guacamole in a flour tortilla for a great vegetarian snack.

  4. Put guacamole on top of a tostada as an extra treat.

  5. Instead of the traditional fixings, put guacamole inside of tacos.

  6. Use guacamole inside of a turkey or meat sandwich to give it that Mexican flair.

  7. Make taquitos and use the guacamole as a dip.
  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
 



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