4 Easy Ways to Make Guacamole

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On a recent Sunday, I ate guacamole all day long. It was a convergence of the first time this season that avocados in the store were perfectly ripe and a day at home with no prospects other than a few small projects and some TiVo breaks. Every couple of hours, I took a break and made a different guac. And when I say different, I mean not just different from each other, but versions of guacamole that I'd never made before.

Because I knew I'd be sharing my recipes, I started by dicing, mincing, chopping all my possible mix-ins, and the array helped me think about guacamole in a more organized way than my usual spur-of-the-moment mash-ups.

There are five things that turn ripe avocados into great guacamole. Add something from at least three of the categories and your guacamole will taste good to great, depending on how well your sense of taste meshes with the harsh reality of other people's taste buds.

* Salt, or a salty ingredient like feta cheese * Acid, from citrus or vinegar or tomatoes -- for flavor and to impede browning * Crunch/texture, from onion, garlic, papaya, seeds, and nuts * A hint of sweetness (even if it's hidden, like the sugar in onions or tomatoes) * Heat -- plain black pepper, a dash of Tabasco, or chiles if you like it spicy

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Andy Broder