I first tried this recipe when I was working at Food52; my former boss Kristen Miglore made it for her Genius Recipes column. It was a total revelation, both in its texture (more salad-y than gloopy) and its flavor (more intense and complex than you’d ever expect). The readiness of your avocados, though, will make or break this; it’s pretty much inedible when they’re not ripe enough, and a total showstopper when they are. —Brette Warshaw
- 4 T finely chopped white onion
- 2 T minced fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, including seeds, or more to taste
- 1 t kosher salt, or 1/4 t fine salt
- 1/2 C chopped cilantro, divided
- 2 large or 4 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
- + a squeeze of lime, to taste
Mash the onion, chile, salt (the coarseness of kosher salt helps you make the paste), and half of the cilantro to a paste in a molcajete or other mortar. You can also mince and mash the ingredients together on a cutting board with a large knife or a fork, and then transfer the paste to a bowl.
Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife and then scoop it with a spoon into the mortar or bowl. Toss well (it should be like salad properly dressed in vinaigrette), then add the rest of the cilantro and mash very coarsely with a pestle or a fork. Season to taste with lime juice, additional chile, and salt.