Guacamole with Serrano Peppers

The avocado is one of Mother Nature’s little gems; truly a delicious and versatile fruit. Also known as alligator pears, the avocados are packed full of beneficial nutrients. According to the California Avocado Commission, they contain nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals, including lutein, which studies show is beneficial for eyesight. Additionally, they are packed full of mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are the “good” fats that benefit the heart.

The meaty flesh of an avocado is delicious alone, or when simply mashed with some lemon juice. It makes an easy and yet satisfying appetizer when served with crisp crackers or crusty bread. My personal favorite way to enjoy avocado is with this superb and simple guacamole. As a lover of all things guac, I can personally attest to the greatness of this recipe. With some baked tortilla chips, or as an addition to your favorite Mexican entrees, this dip has just the right amount of kick without setting the mouth aflame.

Quality avocados are the key to making the perfect guacamole. Look for ones that are domestically grown, preferably from California. Do not rely on the color in order to tell whether the fruit is ripe, as the natural color of an avocado can vary. A Haas avocado will turn very dark green to black when it is ripe, but other varieties remain lighter green. A ripe fruit should feel firm, but give just a little bit when squeezed. If you purchase a fruit that is very hard, you can place it in a paper bag with an apple to accelerate the ripening process. The apple will release ethylene gas, which will cause the avocado to ripen in as little as two days.

Guacamole:

Place 2 tablespoons diced Serrano peppers, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, and the flesh of 2 avocados in a bowl. Mash all of the ingredients together with a fork. (Alternately, you can pulse all of the ingredients together in a food processor.) Once the ingredients are blended, fold in one diced tomato, and the juice of one lime. Garnish with more cilantro, if desired.

That’s it; easy, impressive, nutritious and delicious! I always hope for leftovers when I bring this to parties, but have yet to bring any home. This guacamole is sure to be gobbled up.