If you, like millions of Americans, are planning to eat fresh, home-made guacamole for Super Bowl Sunday, the time to buy your avocados is now, a few days before the event. If you find fairly ripe ones, you can stick them in the fridge (immediately), and they will be good on Game Day. But if you can only find hard, bright green ones you still have time to ripen them to just the right tender creaminess.
Here are some buying and ripening tips: A few days out from the big game, buy hard bright green Hass avocados that are very firm and feel heavy. When you get home, leave them on the counter, maybe piled on top of a few apples (which give off gases that ripen fruit faster). As soon as they are soft enough to dent slightly under finger pressure, stick them in the crisper in your refrigerator.
If you are buying them very close to the day you want your guacamole, hurry the ripening by putting the avocados in a small brown bag with an apple/banana and closing the bag. I leave it near the toaster oven. If you don’t achieve the desired tenderness, then consider making an Inside Out Guacamole, which is chunky rather than smooth, or Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Chipotle-spiked Vinaigrette.
For a classic Latin American version, try one of our favorites from Spanish All Year language and cultural school in Westbury where my son’s cooking teacher, Miss Susa Quintanilla, from El Salvador has a version so simple the kids make it themselves.
Or try my tried and tested nontraditional version, with tomato, hard-boiled egg and yogurt.
Natalia’s Party Guacamole
2-3-4 Hass (small black pebbly) avocados, purchased relatively hard, 3-4 days before the game and scrupulously monitored for a gentle give before cutting open
3-4 generous and fragrant cloves garlic, peeled (minced superfine if you don’t have a garlic press. If you do have a garlic press, wait for instructions)
1 tsp ground cumin (at least)
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (Key limes are the best, but not crucial; pre-squeezed juice from a plastic lime shaped containers is not an acceptable option)
¼ tsp salt
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1-2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Handful grape tomatoes, halved, insides squeezed out haphazardly, then chopped
1 tbs cilantro, finely chopped (unless you have some aversion to cilantro, which many people, remarkably enough, do)
Black pepper to sprinkle
Note: You really should have a garlic press for this.
Have a big bowl ready. Cut the avocado in half, remove pit and peel. Place in bowl. Press (or add minced) garlic. Add cumin, salt, and some of the lime juice. Mash it to your liking (smooth or chunky). Add a couple of generous tablespoons of yogurt to taste (this is a stretching measure so you need to play with it and add as needed). Play with the spices a quarter teaspoon at a time and the lime a teaspoon at a time. When you like the flavor you have achieved, stir in the eggs and tomato. Et voila! The best guacamole ever. Serve with good tortilla chips (I like the blue corn ones, myself).