TASTE

How To Make Guacamole

11/03/2011 02:36 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

Nothing in a can or jar can compare to the flavor of fresh guacamole. Chef Iliana de la Vega of The Culinary Institute of America shows you how easy it is to prepare. She starts by dicing about 2 tablespoons of white onion and a quarter of a Roma tomato. Next, she dices half of a jalapeno, leaving the seeds intact. Next, she chops cilantro after removing any large, tough stems. (Leave the tender stems attached to the leaves for maximum flavor.) Then it's time for the star of the show -- the avocado. She cuts it in half lengthwise and removes the pit with a chef's knife. To dice, she runs a knife lengthwise inside the skin, then crosswise. Using a large spoon, she scoops the diced flesh into a bowl. In goes the tomato, onion and cilantro along with lime juice, salt and a drizzle of olive oil, and she gives it a quick stir. For decoration, you can sprinkle with a bit of queso fresco.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Iliana de la Vega from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make a guacamole.

Guacamole is a very simple dish to prepare. We just need a few ingredients to make it. I have an onion here, and normally for Mexican cooking we use white onions. I cut it in half. Now this is one way to dice it, but the way you feel comfortable cutting your onion will be fine. A few strokes this way and then a few strokes this way. We just need a little bit, because we're making this guacamole with just one avocado. So we need two tablespoons of diced onion. Next we need a little bit of tomato. This is a beautiful Roma tomato. Cut it in half. We just need a little bit, we only need like a quarter of it, so the easiest way is, we'll cut slices off the end from one of our halves. Dice, a little bit more.... You don't want big chunks of tomatoes or onions in your guacamole.

Next, we need a little bit of chile. We have a jalapeno here; it could be a serrano if you wanted it more spicy. We'll cut it in half. It's up to you how much you want. Now, we Mexicans do not remove the seeds. It will give more flavor - but if you feel it is too spicy, then add in a little bit at a time. So, we dice it - with seeds and everything. Believe me, it won't be too spicy; especially, jalapenos are not too spicy. So we have cut our chile lengthwise here; now put the strips together and then dice, making it as small as you can.

I grab a little bit of cilantro here. Now with the cilantro, take off the harder stems, because we're going to just dice it so we don't want big chunks. But we still want some stems, because this is where more flavor is. I'll show you how to chop the cilantro. You put it all together, almost making a little bundle, and then very slowly do this. Just one stroke. You don't want more than that, otherwise it oxidizes and gets mushy and awful right away, so just one stroke through the leaves. Here we go. So we have the cilantro, we have basically all our ingredients.

Now I'm grabbing an avocado. We slice all the way around and twist it open, just like this - beautiful - and we take out the pit. Let's grab a lime, and cut it in half. Okay now, we have the avocado here, cut in half. This is one way to dice it: holding it in your hand, you go all the way lengthwise with your knife, slicing the flesh inside the skin. Now make a criss-cross hatch here. All right? I have my bowl here. Taking a large spoon, take out all the avocado - and as you can see, it is already diced. That's one half; let's do the same with the other one. All right. Take it out again, and scoop that half into the bowl.

So everything is diced right now for our guacamole. Let's put in all the ingredients we have here: tomato, onion, some cilantro. Now comes the seasoning: a little bit of lime juice - and remember, I'm using lime, not lemon. That is also quite important. I'll season it with a little bit of salt as well. Olive oil makes a wonderful addition to this. I don't know, it's a nice coating to it. And then mix. Now for decoration, you can sprinkle a little bit of queso fresco, fresh cheese from Mexico, just a little bit on top. So here is your guacamole, and you're ready to enjoy it either with chips or with a tortilla.

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