This article was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2005.


INGREDIENTS: (Yields about 2 cups)

1/2 sweet onion
1/2 fresh tomato
2 ripe avocadoes


1. Mince the onion very fine, and cut the tomato into small dice (there's no need to peel or seed it). You should have about 1/2 cup (120g) of each.

2. Peel the avocadoes, remove the seeds, and put the meat in a bowl. Mash it roughly with a fork, stirring in the minced onion and then the tomatoes, adding salt to taste. Don't over-mix - a coarse, textured mash is much more interesting than a smooth puree.

3. ADD-INS: As mentioned in the intro, you're certainly welcome to add lime juice or lemon juice, minced garlic (raw or sweated in a little oil to mellow its flavor), cayenne or hot sauce or chili powder, chopped cilantro, other spices and salsa. But after experimenting a bit and directly comparing batches side-by-side, I've come to the conclusion that the basics are best. Much to my surprise, even a shot of lime juice - a potion that adds a happy snap to almost any dish - seemed to diminish the simple purity and rich, buttery character of the dish.

Spoon it into serving bowls and enjoy with crisp tortilla chips or on the side of a Mexican meal. If you need to make your guacamole in advance, the best way to keep it from discoloring is to press a sheet of Saran Wrap down on its surface, sealing out the air. In my experience, lemon and lime juice do little to deter browning; and the old trick of placing the avocado pit in the bowl does nothing at all.

As a practical matter, you're probably serving the guacamole as a side dish, and it makes the most sense to match your dinner wine to the main course. But if you're looking for a direct wine-and-guacamole pairing, I'd go with something crisp, dry and white, with a little extra credit if it's herbaceous ... this spells Sauvignon Blanc, although a modest Portuguese Vinho Verde fared well, and so would a glass of bubbly. A richer, "buttery" Chardonnay might also be intriguing with the rich avocado; I don't intuitively see a red wine working with this dish.