Crowd-Pleasing Guacamole

This guac omits one much-maligned ingredient.Avocados are almost universally beloved for their creamy, rich texture. But cilantro? It has its own I Hate Cilantro page on Facebook and an "anti-cilantro community" dedicated to the "fight to ban the most loathesome garnish of our time." The green herb scattered in many a Cinco de Mayo dish is a polarizing culinary figure, to say the least.

Its hatred is long-standing. Food science writer Harold McGee reported in the New York Times that the word "coriander" may come from the Latin word for bedbug, its aroma like that of "bug-infested bedclothes," according to the Oxford Companion to Food. These days, the word more commonly attributed to cilantro by its detractors is "soapy." Some go farther: vile, get the picture. So what's a guacamole-loving Cinco de Mayo host supposed to do?

Follow Ina Garten's lead and leave out the green leaf. Her guacamole is a bright, vibrant testament to just how well garlic, lemon, and avocados work together, and its chunky texture won't be mistaken for anything picked up in a tub at Costco. It's a guacamole that spans the cilantro divide. Happily, even lovers of the "vile" herb won't miss it.

Crowd-Pleasing Guacamole
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
makes 3 cups

4 ripe Hass avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
8 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avocados in half. Remove the pits by carefully whacking a heavy knife into the pit. Twist the knife to pull out the pit. Using the tip of your knife and without cutting through the skin, score the avocado to create a large dice. Scoop out the chopped avocado flesh into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, hot sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and mix well. As you stir, mash some of the dice (you want to keep the consistency chunky). Add the tomatoes, and mix well. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve.