It's pretty hard to make a bad guacamole. Unless you use an unyielding avocado or a colorless tomato, people will always like you more if you bring guacamole to the party.
But who says you can't learn to make an even better one? Can you be even more popular at the party? No one, and yes.
In this recipe, the ingredients are what you'd expect; you just handle them differently. With a mortar and pestle, or the side of a big knife, or even a fork, you first pulverize chile, onion, cilantro, and salt into a bright green slurry, then gently fold in cubed avocado.
You crush only enough of the avocado to warrant it consideration as a dip rather than a salad, but leave the rest of the cubes intact, bathing them in the vividly flavored chile sauce.
More chopped cilantro and (optional) lime juice finish it off, and you have a dip that ignites as it first hits your tongue, then cools as you break through each lump of clean, creamy avocado. The star gets to shine alone, but still party with its friends.
Roberto Santibanez' Classic Guacamole
Makes About 1 3/4 Cups
2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh serrano or jalapeno chile, including seeds, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 large or 2 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
A squeeze of lime, if desired
1. Mash the onion, chile, salt (the coarseness of kosher salt helps you make the paste), and half of the cilantro to a paste in a molcajete or other mortar. You can also mince and mash the ingredients together on a cutting board with a large knife or a fork, and then transfer the paste to a bowl.
2. Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife and then scoop it with a spoon into the mortar or bowl. Toss well (it should be like salad properly dressed in vinaigrette), then add the rest of the cilantro and mash very coarsely with a pestle or a fork. Season to taste with lime juice (if you'd like) and additional chile and salt.