Monday, February 13, 2017

Cajun Guacamole

Guacamole, made with a little Deep South regional influence, incorporating some spicy Louisiana flavor.
Guacamole, made with a little Deep South regional influence, incorporating some spicy Louisiana flavor.

Cajun Guacamole

I love avocados and I especially love that they have moved into the mainstream of eating everywhere nowadays, even here in the Deep South! I can remember a time back in the day, when finding a fresh avocado wasn't so easy around here. Mostly we were forced to that neon green, pre-made guacamole in a plastic container from the dairy case, when building things like our layered Mexican dip. Fresh is certainly so much better.

Now... right out of the gate, I want to say that I know somebody reading this will likely get all up in arms about this being called "Cajun Guacamole." Just relax and roll with it y'all. In fact, go ahead and Google it... turns out it really is a thing.

I based this version on a recipe developed by for the California Avocado Commission website, to incorporate some "spicy Cajun flavors of Louisiana" using more regional ingredients over a traditional guacamole. If you're not a traditionalist, check out the CAC website. They have a wide variety of guacamole recipes you might enjoy.

Avocados are so mainstream that you can actually get them on a fast food burger these days, so of course, they're good on burgers, as well as on sandwiches, in salads or even in a vinaigrette. I love them on breakfast sandwiches!

Avocado is great mixed in hummus, chicken salad or in a deviled egg filling, or even just simply sliced and served as a salad side. They're often added to smoothies and even milkshakes, and have been used as a fat substitute in baked goods, and even in a chocolate mousse. Crazy, huh?

Nutritionally, avocados really are a powerhouse. Fairly low in calories per serving, they're a good source of fiber and folate, contain nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and good for you monounsaturated fats, they are a great addition to your meal plan.

When selecting them, remember a good ripe avocado should have a slight give to it, though it shouldn't be mushy or too soft either. If you're not going to use it right away, pick one that is a little more on the firm side, allowing up to five days on the counter to continue ripening, faster if in a paper bag with a banana or apple. Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week, though don't refrigerate them unless they are ripe.

To store a cut half of an avocado, I leave the pit in and the skin on, squeeze a lemon wedge over, press cling wrap against the cut side and store it in a Lock and Lock container. This seems to keep it well for the next day or two.

My number one favorite way to eat avocados as a snack or even a meal, is to fill the center with Italian dressing, drizzle it with sriracha sauce and then just eat it right from the skin with a spoon. When I've got fresh crab, it's pretty good stuffed with that too, as well as tuna.

Avocado toasts of one kind or another are all the rage too here lately, whether it's simply sliced avocado, or guacamole smeared on a good whole grain bread and served with an egg, topped with tomatoes and onions, or just smeared on some kind of toasted bread.

Considering one medium sized avocado is actually three servings, the problem with avocados is keeping them from turning brown on you once they are cut or mashed. I found this little gadget and it's the perfect solution if you enjoy eating guacamole regularly - the Guac-Lock! It's a vented container that has a plunger, pushing the guacamole all the way to the top of container, pressing out every bit of air. Pretty genius.
I like my guacamole a little more creamy than chunky, so I start by mashing one avocado at a time. Whether you prefer lemon or lime, I like to add a little zest, so be sure to zest before juicing. Scoop out one avocado and add it to a medium sized bowl, squeezing a little of the juice on top. Use a fork to mash.

Repeat with mashing remaining avocados and adding in a little more juice. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients, except for salt and pepper. Mix well, taste, add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as needed, mashing to desired consistency. Serve immediately.

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Recipe: Cajun Guacamole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min | Yield: About 2 cups

  • 1 small lemon or lime, zested
  • 5 medium sized, very ripe, Haas avocados
  • 1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup of finely minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced garlic
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper or pimentos, drained
  • 1/2 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup cooked and chopped bacon, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Lightly zest lemon or lime for 1 teaspoon of zest. Scoop out one avocado and add it to a medium sized bowl along with a teaspoon of the juice. Use a fork to mash together. Repeat with remaining avocados and juice. Stir in zest and all of the remaining ingredients, except for salt and pepper; taste, add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: Guacamole should be prepared fresh and consumed right away. Store for the short term sealed in an airtight container, with a layer of plastic wrap pressed up against the entire surface of the guacamole, or use a Guac-Lock type of container to press out air.

Small Batch Pico de Gallo: Mix together 2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes, juices retained, with 3/4 cup diced red or yellow onion, 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, ribs removed and minced, 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Let rest for 30 minutes before serving.


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