Certain things in American life are understood. You don’t mess with Old Glory, for example, or the national anthem, or Texas. You don’t cut off a phalanx of Hells Angels on PCH. You don’t open wrapped candy during a performance at The South Coast Repertory Theatre. You argue with an English grammarian at your own peril. And, as it turns out, you don’t ever mess with the recipe for guacamole.
The New York Times found that out the hard way when they published a recipe for guacamole with peas on Twitter back in 2015.
You read that right. Guacamole. With. Peas.
People from around the world waded in on that one. Even President Obama got involved. In the end, the editor of the NY Times Food Page, Sam Sifton, survived the pea guacamole brouhaha and continues to defend the recipe to this day. Sifton posted this entertaining reply to his tormentors:
So, here is my personal contribution to the guacamole challenge. This week’s recipe is for a traditional guacamole, one that was made famous by Chef Josefina Howard at the Rosa Mexicano Restaurant in Manhattan. The recipe was published in a New York Times review of Howard’s cookbook, Rosa Mexicano. (Times food writer Florence Fabricant also reviewed Diana Kennedy’s My Mexico cookbook in the same article.)
To my taste, Howard’s guacamole is everything a guacamole should be–bright clean flavors, chunks of just-ripe avocado, the bite of fresh chile pepper and red onion pounded into paste in your authentic molcajete (or just in a boring old bowl).
Stay tuned, though. Next week, I’ll give the pea guacamole a try and post the results (and recipe) here. I’ll tell you what I think and you can give the two recipes your own taste test.
As I see it, either way, I’m a big winner. Two weeks. Two big bowls of guacamole. Life is good.
Yields 2 Servings
15 minPrep Time
15 minTotal Time
- 3 T. chopped red onion
- 1/2 t. minced Serrano chili (or more, to taste)
- 1 1/2 t. finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/2 t. salt (or more, to taste)
- 1 small ripe tomato
- 1 ripe Hass avocado
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Tortilla chips for serving
- Mash 1 T. onion, fresh chile, 1/2 t. cilantro and salt in a bowl or Mexican lava stone molcajete.
- Squeeze the juice out of a tomato that has been cut into two halves and remove seeds. Chop the pulp. Add to the bowl with the onion mixture.
- Cut the ripe avocado in half. Use a sharp knife to slice the avocado of both halves lengthwise, then crosswise, cutting down to the skin, to form a grid. Scoop the avocado into the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Add the remaining onion and cilantro to the bowl along with the juice of 1/2 a lime and gently mix.
- Season with more chili and salt to taste. Garnish with extra tomato, cilantro and thinly-sliced red onion.
- Serve at once with tortilla chips
I used a jalapeño chile in my guacamole rather than a Serrano chile.
Here is the link to the NY Times guacamole recipe used in this post: