Cinco de Mayo is synonymous with fun and food, especially here in California where the holiday was first celebrated. And there’s no more fun food to celebrate a momentous victory for Mexico than crispy tortilla chips layered with creamy guacamole and zesty salsa.
While many of us will rush to the market to grab plastic tubs of salsa and guac, there’s absolutely nothing like homemade. They’re entirely different foods! Add to that purchasing the ingredients at your local farmers’ market, and you have the makings of two bowls full of addictive deliciousness.
I like to keep it simple as to allow the star ingredients, tomatoes for the salsa and avocado for the guacamole, to stand out.
The salsa I prepared is salsa fresca, a.k.a. pico de gallo. Using just a few ingredients chopped, mixed and allowed to marinate, it’s a recipe anyone can make, even if you think you can’t cook. The key is using the right tomatoes. Firm but ripe Roma are hands down the best option for their sweetness and dense texture. Look for deeply colored tomatoes with a sweet tomato smell. If not available use cherry or grape tomatoes. Please note that chili peppers are not in season at the Larchmont Farmer’s Market, so I didn’t include any. I’m not a spicy-hot food kinda gal anyway, so this is salsa fresca at its most basic, but I think most delicious. Feel free to add hot peppers such as diced jalapeno or Serrano chilies or even hot sauce.
Same for the guacamole. It’s quite simple to make using just a few key ingredients. Make sure the avocadoes are soft and ripe, but not squishy, which could mean bruised flesh under the skin. If using onions, I recommend a sweet white onion so as not to overpower the avocado. Then add a bit of salt and fresh squeezed lemon juice and dig in! If you want a more complex dip other additions could be cilantro, oregano, garlic, chopped tomatoes and/or hot sauce. Again, create to your liking.
Served as an appetizer with chips as pictured or with your favorite Mexican entrees making your own salsa and guacamole just might become something you don’t wait once a year to create.
4 cups diced Roma tomatoes
½ cup pack cilantro leaves, chopped
¾ cup small-diced sweet white onion
¼ cup fresh squeezed line juice
1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Taste for seasoning. Let marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to a full day, refrigerated, before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Keeps a few days.
3 large ripe avocados
2 T finely diced sweet white onion
2-3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ tsp salt, or to taste
Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the chopped onions, lemon juice and salt and mix with a fork to just combine, leaving some chunks of avocado. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately. Guacamole is best fresh. Leftovers should be covered tightly to prevent browning. I press a piece of wax paper directly on the guacamole and then cover with plastic wrap. Keeping an avocado pit in the guac also helps prevent browning. Eat within a day.
About Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.
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