Don’t even try. There is no way to tally the number of tips out there for making great guacamole. But if you’re planning on mashing up some guac for a summer celebration—or any other time, for that matter—here is one of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard: Before you mix in the avocado, prepare a paste from other ingredients first. Why? Salt releases liquid from the onion and jalapeño. This combines with the avocados resulting in big flavor. These four simple steps—and a short list of simple ingredients—will sell you, too, on the power of paste.
- Prepare ingredients. 1 Tbsp. white onion (chopped), ¼ tsp. kosher salt, minced jalapeño (to taste), 1 Tbsp. cilantro, 1 medium tomato (chopped), 3 ripe avocados. Quantities are approximate, so season to taste.
- Make the paste. Put white chopped onion, minced jalapeño and salt in the molcajete and grind with the pestle until the juices release.
- Score the avocado so that it comes out in small chunks, then you aren’t trying to break up larger wedges while overworking the other ingredients.
- Fold in the cilantro and tomatoes gently.
Recipe by Matthew Lake, former owner of Alamexo
The molcajete, a stone mortar and pestle, is an ancient tool that predates kitchens. And if you don’t have one, get one. Carved out of basalt, it has a rough texture ideal for mashing avocados without turning them to mush.