Some consider chips, salsa and guacamole an appetizer, but I think they make a great meal. In fact, my belly would much prefer if I stopped at the chips and salsa instead of ordering an entrée when I go out for Mexican food.

In my love of Mexican food, I have sampled an almost countless variety of salsas so that you don’t have to. Salsa verde with tomatillos is great, as is the roasted goodness of chipotle salsa. But when I make salsa at home, I like the raw, chunky form of salsa over the cooked pureed versions. It’s based on the pico de gallo variety.

Once the salsa is done, most of the work for guacamole is done, too. It’s just a matter of smashing some avocados, adding the salsa, a little more salt, some more lime juice and arriba!

I’m not going to insult you with false modesty, my salsa and guac rock. I’ve brought salsa and guacamole to enough parties and barbeques that I started getting requests for it. I also have a sneaking suspicion the only reason I was invited to some gatherings was so I would bring the salsa and guacamole.

But maybe I'm just being paranoid.

 

Note for food photographers:

I recently learned a trick from a food stylist to keep avocados from oxidizing:  vodka spritz. Works better than lime or lemon juice to keep opened avocados green. Unfortunately, it makes them taste like poop so it’s only good for stunt avocados. Maybe that’s why there’s no avocado infused vodka on the market.

Salsa and Guacamole

What's in it:

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 bunch cilantro (aprox. ½ cup)
  • 1 large garlic clove (or 2 medium)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 red onion
  • Avocados

How to make it:

Salsa

  1. Dice the whole tomatoes and onion into small, even chunks. Seed and finely chop jalapeno. You might want to add a little at a time and test the heat. You can always add more if it’s not hot enough. Mix them together with the chopped cilantro and add celery salt and cumin for a little extra dimension. Then add regular sea salt to taste. Lastly, squeeze in the juice from the lime, give it another mix, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or more to let the flavors marry and the heat even out. If you like your salsa a little less chunky, pop it in a food processor or blender and pulse it a couple of times (but not before you set some aside for the guacamole).

Guacamole

  1. Some people put the avocado in a food processor to make the avocado creamy smooth. In the Southwest, we call those people dumbasses — don’t be a dumbass. Use a fork. Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork and stir it up leaving it a little chunky.
  2. Now for the easy part: add a heaping spoon full of salsa for each avocado used, squeeze in a little lime juice and add a little salt to taste. Keep in mind most chips are salted, you may want to under-salt or skip the salt altogether if the chips are salty.
  3. Guacamole doesn’t keep but the beauty of having made the salsa is that it is easy to make small batches at a time and it’s always fresh. If you do need to make a batch ahead of time, you can put a couple of the avocado pits in with the guacamole and squeeze a little extra lime juice over the top to stop the oxidation which is what turns the guacamole black.