Mexican cuisine is like the lover who sporadically makes appearances in your life and works his way back into your heart by charming you with something new and exciting each time. After a particularly long run of soups and salads and sandwiches, Mexican shows up and you vaguely consider settling down – because it has flavour, texture, heat and sweetness and crunch and comfort; everything you could possibly want in a cuisine.
It amuses me to tell you that for the longest time I didn’t like avocados. I used to scrape the guacamole off my nachos and give it to my bestie. In fact, I didn’t like avocados until I came to this country and tried guacamole at Wahaca.
Slowly, I’ve fallen in love with the creamy texture and subtle, fresh taste. Guacamole is something indescribably complex; muted creaminess balanced with the spike of raw onion, chunks of soft flesh, a sharp note of lime juice and of course the flavour kick of coriander. These days I’m drawn irrepressibly to the vivid, iridescent green whenever I’m in a Mexican restaurant.
3 x large ripe avocados*
Half a red onion, very finely chopped
Small handful of coriander, finely chopped
Mince the coriander and half the onion, chopping as finely as humanly possible. If you’re lucky enough to have a mortar and pestle, use that. Otherwise, a little muscle on the chopping board will do. Place into a bowl, add a pinch of salt.
Scoop the flesh from the avocados, add to the bowl and mash with a fork. Add half the lime juice as you go.
When you’ve got a rough guacamole, add the rest of the lime and onion and mix well. Season with black pepper and more salt if necessary.
If you like, you could add additional coriander leaves, chilli or a deseeded tomato.
*It’s easy to buy avocados from Sainsbury’s or Tesco, where they’re the cheapest, but often the ‘ready to eat’ avocados are about as hard as hockey pucks or else they’re descending into that really icky soft rotten place. Press gently on the small tip and if it gives just slightly you’re in luck. Otherwise buy firm avocados a few days ahead and keep them in the fridge.