Sunday, January 30, 2011

(Not) Chef Mark's Guacamole

Next week is the [REDACTED] and whether you are a cheese head, waive a yellow towel, or like most of us whose team didn’t make the [REDACTED] you can probably agree that every [REDACTED] party needs some guacamole. Unfortunately the [REDACTED] is played in January February and not between May and November, otherwise I would just go to the Collingswood Farmers Market and buy the best guacamole ever. When the farmer’s market is open Chef Mark Smith, chef/owner of the Tortilla Press in Collingswood and the Tortilla Press Cantina in Pennsauken spends his Saturday mornings cooking breakfast and selling his hand-made tortilla chips, salsa, and the world’s best guacamole.

Since I can’t go to the farmer’s market, and I’m not sure if Mark does take-out, I “stole” his recipe. After a painstaking process involving a centrifuge, a trip to the Fermilab particle accelerator and a few calls to this guy, I developed this recipe for a passable facsimile of the best guacamole ever.

  • Hass Avocados
  • Plum Tomatoes
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Vidalia Onion
  • Jalapenos
  • Limes (juiced)
  • Salt

I base the amounts of the ingredients on the number of avocado’s with an N-1 approach. For 4 avocados it use 3 tomatoes, jalapenos and limes. The onion, cilantro, and seasonings I mix to taste.

Avocado ripeness: Hass avocados are grown year round in California and distributed nationwide. You can tell how ripe an avocado is from both its color and firmness. Ripe avocadoes are purplish-black and firm, yet giving. If you squeeze the avocado in your hand it will almost feel like it has a soft layer right under the skin. Green avocados need to ripen and mushy ones or ones with soft spots are over-ripe.

  • Citrus reamer
  • Knives
  • Cutting board
  • Mixing bowl and spoons
  • Potato Masher
  • Liquid Measuring cup


Dice or chop the onion. Remove the stems and seeds from the tomatoes and jalapenos then dice. Clean, dry and chop the cilantro and set all the chopped ingredients

Avocados brown quickly when exposed to air, but mixing with a little acid prevents the browning. My technique is to juice the limes into a measuring cup and pour a couple tablespoons of lime juice into the mixing bowl before touching the avocados. For the first three avocados, peel and mash each one into the bowl with the lime juice before moving on to the next one. Add a little lime juice (1/4-1/2 tsp) with each avocado. Depending on how chunky you like your guacamole, you can chop instead of mashing all or part the last avocado. My preference is to chop half the last avocado.

Fold as much of diced tomatoes, jalapenos and onion as desired. Add about a tablespoon of the chopped cilanto and about a teaspoon of salt.

Refrigerate the guacamole for about an hour to let the flavors build, then adjust the lime juice, salt and cilantro to taste.

Other notes: I think the NFL is stupid for not being so restrictive with [REDACTED] and forcing people to use the term “Big Game” instead, especially considering the creation of the term [REDACTED] is disputed.