Alton Brown’s Gorgeous Guacamole
Let’s face it, you can’t have a football, baseball or basketball game party without serving guacamole! The Mexican side dish has become an American snack staple.
Before the 2015 Super Bowl, PRNewswire predicted that 240 million fresh avocados would be consumed by Americans during the week before and for illustration of that volume said that’s 3,785 avocados per seat in the University of Phoenix Stadium and avocado lovers pushed the year over year growth from 2014-15 up 21 percent.
Guacamole, or its ancestor versions, has been around for centuries, starting with the Aztecs of Mexico. When the Spaniards arrived in the 1500s, Aztecs were already serving up an avocado mixture they called "ahuaca-mulli" which ultimately became “guacamole.”
Fast forward to the 21st century and there seem to be very few people out there who don’t love the stuff and nowadays you will find it as an appetizer in all types of restaurants. It has graduated to an honored place in the culinary world and like spaghetti sauce, everyone has their favorite recipe.
Alton Brown’s formula is simple and easy, but made correctly promises oohs and aahs from your guests. Let the man who made cooking fun again with his Good Eats show on the Food Network, make your party fun, too!
Here’s that special offering for your gathering!
From the Alton Brown Blog:
- 3 medium ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted (peel removed)
- 1 medium lime
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 small Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
Place the avocado pulp and lime juice in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Add the salt, cumin and cayenne and mash using a potato masher, leaving some larger chunks for texture. Add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno and stir to combine. Lay plastic wraps directly on the surface of the guacamole and allows to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.
For a big group, you may want to double or triple this recipe. Don’t worry about leftovers. We’re going to give you plenty of ideas. Keep reading!
Now that you’ve made the guacamole itself, you also make guacamole the centerpiece of your treats table in all kinds of inspiring ways.
From the simple football design above to models of a football field, with guacamole the green grassy area like the picture on the right, you can make your new guacamole the highlight of your table. You can also print out the recipe right from Alton Brown’s blog and place copies on the table for your friends to take home – a simple, almost cost-free party favor to make your party the hit of the season.
But hold on! Put the recipe printouts aside for a minute.
If you really want to make your fabulous guacamole the star, play this game with your guests – Guess the Ingredients.
Hand out printed sheets with whatever decorative touches fit your game: pictures of your favorite basketball stars around the edges, a soccer ball flying into a net, a baseball score board are a few ideas. Or make it even simpler, buy pre-decorated paper at the craft or party store.
Ask your friends to guess the ingredients you used to make their favorite – Alton Brown’s Guacamole! The one who comes closest gets a prize and maybe you’ve been really clever and made an extra batch for them to take home in a special container as the ultimate grand prize.
Now, you can give out the recipe fliers. Even better, right?
Playoffs, Regular Season, Whatever!
With the NBA playoffs taking off on April 16, 2016, the table setting above is perfect! But don’t forget there’s Major League baseball from April to October and US soccer - the MLS – started its season in March.
Let’s forget the ladies either, with basketball, golf, and tennis matches; you have even more excuses to gather up some avocados and celebrate.
You could become the go-to host for every sporting event around and owe it all to Alton Brown.
Let’s Talk Avocados!
Alton Brown takes his avocados seriously, as you can see here and he should because avocados require a loving hand when choosing, storing and handling them.
When you choose an avocado, remember that they actually ripen best off of the tree so that many you encounter in a grocery store will still be hard. Look for fruits that are heavy, dark-skinned with just touch of green and no breaks or dents in the skin.
An old-school method for ripening the hard ones is still tried and true. Put your unripe avocados in a paper bag and over a period of about three days they’ll transform to an edible state. Just press the skin gently to test if they’re ready. Be careful not to bruise the fruit when testing.
Ready to get to the delicious insides? Lay your avocado on a cutting board and place your hand on top of it to keep it in one place. Then using a sharp knife, cut the fruit lengthwise all the way around. Be very careful. It is now fairly easy to twist the two portions in opposite directions until they come apart.
Next, on the side that still has the pit, without holding it, whack the pit itself enough to bury the blade edge in it. Now it’s ready to twist until the pit pops out.
You can slice or dice the meat right inside the skin and then scoop it out for salads or decorative slices, but for guacamole just use a big spoon and scrape it out into the bowl you intend to use.
If you only expect to use half the avocado, leave the pit in the side you are going to store and sprinkle citrus juice over the exposed flesh to keep it from browning. Now, pop it into a storage bag (gently remove as much air as you can before sealing).
There you have it! Use these easy steps and you’ll have marvelous results in all your recipes.
Healthy Party Food! Who Knew!
Avocados, besides being delicious, are seriously healthy. They are very rich in that highly-sought after component – fiber - at 10 grams in a medium-sized avocado. You’ll also be serving your dietary-restricted invitees a snack that is gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian and cholesterol-free.
If calories and fat are your concern, this is the dip for you. Two tablespoons of mashed avocado is a mere 50 calories, fewer calories than the same amount of butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil, and even coconut oil.
And with avocados, you are delivering more than 20 vitamins and minerals to your body - or your friend’s. They should thank you for upgrading their diet!
To Dip or Not to Dip?
Studies show – yes there are guacamole studies – that 67% of Americans use a spoon to dip from the communal bowl of guacamole, then dump it on their plates, rather than dipping directly into the bowl with a chip or some other piece of food. This information comes directly from the Hass Avocado Board and they say women are one and half times more likely to use this method than men.
Apparently 32 percent of consumers dip directly, using chips or some other instrument (like bread or vegetables) to transfer the good stuff directly into their mouths.
There’s still the question of the dreaded double dippers and not surprisingly, only four percent of consumers admit to double-dipping the same piece of food repeatedly. Amazingly, two percent actually believe it's the right way to eat guacamole.
These startling facts were obtained from a telephone survey of over 1007 respondents aged 18 and up. Who would have guessed these results?
Don’t worry about having leftover guacamole. Make plenty, because you’ll have lots of uses for it after game day. Remember, it’s a healthy food, so save it for later, store it in a refrigerator in an airtight container but place a piece of clear plastic wrap against the surface of the guacamole to keep it from browning. Even if it does brown a bit, simply scrap off the top, oxidized layer and use the rest.
Here are a few tips we adapted from the master himself, Alton Brown, on how to make the most of your leftover green goodness:
- Add it to your regular vinaigrette for a little added flavor – this is great for small amounts especially.
- Mix up a batch of deviled eggs using the guacamole instead of mayonnaise or whatever you usually mix your cooked egg yolks with. Now you just need a little ham – for green eggs and ham!
- Spoon a generous portion on top of a burger. Now you have a “guaca-burger.”
- Put a little zing into a plain baked potato with a dollop of guacamole and a little sour cream. Much healthier than the traditional “loaded” potato.
- What do you usually top-off your chili with? Cheese? Onions? Both? Try substituting guacamole or even adding it to the mix. Now you have an interesting take on a traditional meal.
- Turn that chicken salad sandwich into an even more healthy choice by substituting the guacamole you have stored for the traditional mayonnaise.
There you have it! Your leftover guacamole is saved from the dreaded “forgotten leftover” bin – the garbage can.
Speaking of the Master
Alton Brown is hitting the road again with the follow-up to last year’s Edible Inevitable Tour, a popular stage show and hilarious take on food preparation. His newest endeavor is called Eat Your Science and promises to be bigger and better.
The show kicks off in April in Charleston, SC, and continues with shows all across the US through to May 22 in Redding, CA. For more information on the tour visit the website at: http://www.altonbrowntour.com/