How to Make an Even More Perfect Guacamole This Cinco De Mayo

The Mexican specialty will never lose its place in our hearts, here's how to perfect the recipeMaking "the perfect" guacamole is not a novel idea. Heck, we've even done it twice before, and have two different interviews with celebrated chefs from New York City hot spots Dos Caminos and Rosa Mexicano about how to make the perfect version.

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Just because we've examined the art of making guacamole once or twice before doesn't mean we're done, though, because techniques, products, and recipes are constantly evolving and changing, and we as cooks are always craving more and more tips and opinions from the experts.

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This time around we spoke with George Duran, international chef and entertainer. The host of Food Network's Ham on the Street and TLC's Ultimate Cake Off and author of Take This Dish and Twist It, Duran is known for his colorful and lively personality and helpful and informative cooking tips.

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Duran's guacamole mantras are similar to ones of past experts that we've spoken with, but he also has some additional tips to share. Like knowing how to spot the perfect ripened avocado and how to make your guacamole your own, whether it's through add-ins like diced apples or the chips you serve it with. And don't forget about the best ways to serve it, because Duran has some pet peeves about when it's served wrong.

Guacamole is a dish that will never fade, and so we'll continue to try and perfect it over and over again. Here are tips for how to make an even more perfect guacamole.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoFind the Perfectly Ripened Avocado
As with most chefs, Duran starts with the avocado when he begins to make guacamole, and he finds the perfectly ripened one. His avocado of choice is Hass, because he feels it's not only one of the creamiest ones to work with but one of the easiest to find at the store. You'll know you're buying the perfect avocado when it's uniformly black and slightly firm to the touch. If it's too mushy, it's over-ripened. Duran suggests shopping for your avocados a few days ahead of time and buying under-ripe ones to let them finish at home. Once they're ripened, store them in the refrigerator until ready to use so that you slow down any further ripening.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoDetermine the Perfect Consistency for Your Guacamole
The consistency of guacamole isn't an exact science, says Duran, because it's up to your personal preference. "Personally I feel [that] a somewhat chunky guac will give your palate some texture and [some] creaminess at the same time," he says, so he mashes half of his avocados with a potato masher and then dices the rest so there is an even balance of textures.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoStarting with the Basics: Salt, Lime, and Onions
As soon as you've got your avocados squared away, it's time to start thinking about seasoning the guacamole. Duran believes that the three base ingredients should always be salt, lime, and onion. To find the right balance of the three, just taste as you go, but be careful about oversalting because of the tortilla chips you'll use to serve it with. For a sweeter flavor profile, says Duran, try shallots or a Vidalia onion. Along with those three base ingredients, other ones that you can choose to use to add some flavor are cilantro, garlic, and for some heat, chiles.

Credit: Thinkstock/HemeraAdding Some Heat
Speaking of heat, deciding on what kind and how much is an important step in making your guacamole. Duran likes using serrano chiles and jalapeños. For a hotter guacamole, he'll leave the seeds in; for a milder one, he'll take them out.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoOrder of Steps
Now that your ingredients are in place, all you have to do is put them together, but doing that in the right order is important, says Duran. To bring out the best flavors in your guacamole, start by making a paste out of the base ingredients (lime juice, onion, and salt). Add in cilantro, garlic, and other ingredients if you're using them, but remember to set some aside for the end so that you'll have chunky bites of these ingredients as well. Mix your mashed guacamole into the paste, and then you're ready to fold in the rest.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoMake It Your Own
Finishing up the guacamole is how you make it your own, says Duran, because there is nothing easier than customizing guacamole with one simple ingredient. He suggests folding in fun ingredients like finely diced Granny Smith apples, mangos, radishes, cilantro, or pickled jalapeños to add some color to your guacamole. "The guacamole should reflect who you are!" he says.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoAnother Perfect Guacamole Recipe
- Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal
Yet again, we have another perfect guacamole recipe to work with. This one allows for creativity and flexibility, while keeping all of the basic principles of making guacamole intact.

• 2 large, ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
• 1/2 large onion, chopped and divided 
• 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
• Salt, to taste
• 1 jalapeño (optional)
• 1/2 chopped cilantro (optional)
• 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
• 1 small tomato, diced (optional)

In a medium-sized bowl, mash 1 avocado with a potato masher until smooth. Dice the other avocado into medium dice and set aside (do not add to the mashed avocado).

Add ½ of the diced onion, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and salt to taste to a mortar and pestle.
If using the jalapeño, remove the stem and dice. For a spicy guacamole, leave the seeds in, but for a milder one, remove the seeds. Add ½ of the diced jalapeño to the mortar and pestle. If using cilantro and garlic, add ½ of the cilantro and all of the garlic to the mortar and pestle, as well. Grind together the ingredients until a thick paste is formed. Fold in the mashed avocado. Mix well so that all of the ingredients are evenly combined and check for seasonings. Add the diced avocado, the rest of the lime juice, and tomato last, and serve.

Servings: 6

- Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal

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