We moved our national produce buying office (where I work) right after Thanksgiving. The office we had before was nice but the new one is spectacular. It’s located in downtown Watsonville, California — and the building reflects the flavor of the community surrounding it. But most importantly, we now have a functioning kitchen and are able to prepare dishes here! Last week we focused on guacamole and the office challenge was to bring the best ever “Super Bowl-O-Mole” recipes. Four team members rose to the challenge.Guacamole is extremely important this time of year because of football season — think college bowl games, the playoffs and, of course, the Super Bowl. We sell more avocados in January than any other month of the year and the demand for ripe fruit is intense. Rodrigo, our global avocado buyer, has a monumental task this time of year. First, he has to make sure our suppliers throughout the country have enough fruit in the pipeline to supply us (and our customers). Next he has make sure that the available supply is delivered at the right stage of ripeness (not easy in the dead of winter) because, like bananas, green avocados really have no value to anyone.
The last and most important task is to keep track of the diverse and overlapping mosaic of avocado production areas in North and South America that supply the U.S. throughout the year. These sources include the U.S. (mainly California but also Florida), producing from January to September; Chile, producing from September through January, and Mexico. By far the largest supplier of avocados in the world, Mexico, courtesy of four distinctive bloom periods (Aventajada, Flora Loca, Marceña and Normal) gives us fruit in varying volumes year round. A native of Chile, Rodrigo is partial to Chilean avocados, yet he knows that oil content is among many factors that determine where to source the best fruit, a variable that changes depending on where you are in the season.Here in California the best avocados are currently coming out of Mexico and markets everywhere are loaded with ripe fruit. Reading through all the comments from last year’s blog on the subject, my “best ever” guacamole recipe is changing a bit. I’m removing the seeds and pulp on my cherry tomatoes (with a melon baller -- works great!) to keep excess moisture out. I’m combining all my other ingredients before I fold them into my avocados to give the flavors time to blend. And I am definitely using grilled limes — they not only taste and smell great but heating them yields twice as much juice!. I am also moving to a chunky style — roughly mashing my avocados instead of whipping them to keep some whole pieces. James’ (new) Best Ever Guacamole4 medium avocados (ripe)1/3 cup cherry tomatoes (grape or regular variety, interior pulp removed and sliced into small pieces)1/4 small red onion (finely chopped)1 hot pepper (jalapeño, seeds removed and finely chopped)1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (or more to taste)1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)Juice of 1/2 lime (sliced in half and grilled in a skillet or on the barbeque)Cilantro to taste (or not if you don’t like it)Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients except the avocados and set aside for the flavors to merge. Setting the pits aside, roughly mash the avocados taking care to leave whole chunks. Fold in the rest of the ingredients carefully and correct the seasoning to taste. Return the pits and serve. Enjoy!All four versions of guacamole served were exceptional – which reinforces my notion that “best ever” applies universally and that it is practically impossible to not like a fresh “Super Bowl-O-Mole.” Think your recipe is the best ever? Bring it! It will give me an excuse to try something new.