Once the temperature hits 80 degrees, we lean heavily on no-recipe recipes.
Often that means eating a lot of dips — baba ghanouj, guacamole and white bean dip — with tortilla chips, pita bread or vegetables like jicama and carrots in lieu of bigger meals (sorry, Mom).
This guacamole is the definitive recipe, adapted from Josefina Howard, chef at the original Rosa Mexicano restaurant in Manhattan. It is dead simple and easily scaled to serve as many or as few as you want, which is good, because you'll want a lot of it — even if you're the only one partaking.
- 3 tablespoons chopped onion, divided use
- ½ teaspoon minced serrano chile, or more, to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped cilantro leaves, divided use
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
- 1 small ripe tomato
- 1 ripe Hass avocado
- Tortilla chips for serving
In a medium bowl, mortar or a Mexican molcajete (lava stone mortar), thoroughly mash 1 tablespoon of the onion with the serrano, ½ teaspoon cilantro and the salt to make a paste.
Cut the tomato in half horizontally, squeeze out the juice and seeds and discard. Chop pulp, and add it to the bowl.
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, cutting around the pit. Gently twist to separate the halves. Remove pit. Using a paring knife slice the avocado flesh of both halves lengthwise, then crosswise, cutting down to but not through the skin, to form a grid. Scoop the diced avocado into the bowl with a spoon.
Add the remaining onion and cilantro, and gently fold all the ingredients together. Season with more serrano and salt if desired. Serve at once with tortilla chips.
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe from Josefina Howard and adapted by Florence Fabricant
This take on the classic street food, served throughout Mexico, is encountered often in open air markets, beaches and parks in summer. The original is often made with tajin spice, a store-bought blend of ground chile, lime and salt. This preparation allows you to use any variety of mango, in states of ripeness from soft and juicy to firm, and the homemade chile-lime salt can be used for a variety of savory or sweet dishes as a garnish or topping. If using store-bought chile-lime salt, substitute the ground chile, lime zest and salt with 2 tablespoons of the seasoning.
Mango With Chile-Lime Salt
- 1 tablespoon ground chile, such as ancho or paprika
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime zest
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 ripe mangoes (1 ½ pounds), peeled, pitted and cut into ½-inch slices
In a small bowl, combine the chile powder, lime zest and salt. Use the chile-lime salt immediately or store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Sprinkle the chile-lime salt all over the mango and serve immediately, or loosely cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe from Yewande Komolafe