Mango Habanero Guacamole
Again, my apologies to the guacamole purists out there. I am not one of you. I have experimented with pineapple, corn and even cumin in prior variations. I very much applaud experimentation when it comes to creativity, color, textures and taste. By the way, this recipe is just as successful without heat, or with an alternative chili, if the devilish habanero is not quite your style. The entire process, from preparation to assembly to finish, is such a delight to the senses, as it awakens your sight, your smell, your mood and your appetite!
4 Avocados, ripe, seeded, peeled and cubed
2 cups fresh mango, diced
1/2 Red onion, diced
1 to 2 Habanero chili, minced
3 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon agave
1 small bunch cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste
Charring or roasting your habaneros are completely optional. I take a quick moment to hold it over the stove flame to get a gentle char and coax the flavors. You can dice it raw or even omit it all together, but habaneros have such a neat flavor and the heat travels far; it would be a shame not to include them. Start with a very small portion and then work in more, to your tolerance. And please....please wash your hands thoroughly after handling them. I speak from experience.
Another kitchen hack that I love is allowing for my diced onion to soak in a water bath prior to use. Onions can be so sharp when incorporated raw, so soaking them for about 10 minutes and then draining them really soothes the bite and makes them far more pleasant.
Using a large mixing bowl, add the avocado, red onion, habanero, and lime juice. Gently incorporate the ingredients together with a fork until you get the texture you are looking for. I like chunky, you might prefer a smoother texture. It is at this stage that I add in the mango chunks and chopped cilantro. Over-handling of mango tends to make the tender chunks soft and mushy, so I like to add them in at the end to somewhat retain their shape and vibrancy. It is a personal preference. As for the cilantro, it's a proportion thing. I add in little by little until I feel the distribution is balanced with the other ingredients, by sight and by flavor. Salt and pepper with a liberal hand, add an extra dash of lime juice as a final flourish, and serve.
If I'm looking at an afternoon engagement, I like to prepare my guacamole in the late morning. I am certain that I unnecessarily ruminate over the perfect time to prepare versus marinate versus serving, but a few hours beforehand works for me, as long as it is tightly wrapped and drizzled with a hint of extra lime juice to prevent browning. I have read that keeping the pit in the guacamole to preserve its freshness is a myth, so I will refrain from recommending or not recommend that. Entirely up to you. Serve with some colorful, organic chips and you will have a presentation that will highlight any entertaining table.