With the weather turning warmer, we find ourselves turning to lighter meals and nibbles. Healthy dips and spreads such as muhammara are finding their way onto our plates more often in recent weeks.
Another benefit of dips and spreads is they can be used as a substitute for less-healthy toppings such as butter, cream, hollandaise sauces, and other high-fat sauces and accompaniments. Try using hummus in place of mayonnaise in a sandwich, or experiment with covering a grilled steak with guacamole. Delicious!
Guacamole isn't just for dipping chips in. It can be used as a salad topping, a creamy spread or food binder, or you can just eat it with a spoon. Avocados contain the good fats and lots of fiber and vitamins, so eat away!
Everyone has their own recipe for guacamole; it is a recipe that is versatile and works several different ways. Personally, I prefer mine chunky and chock full of seasonal vegetables. Here's how I make mine:
Guacamole with Corn, Pasilla chiles, and Tomatillos
3 ripe avocadoes
a handful of fresh cilantro - I like extra cilantro
2 or 3 fresh limes
1 fresh ear of corn
2 pasilla chiles
Fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
First, seed and roast the pasilla chiles under a broiler. While waiting for that, slice off the fresh corn ears and place in a mixing bowl. Chop up the cilantro, the tomatilloes, slice the scallions, and add to the bowl along with salt and pepper to taste, and the cumin. When the pasillas are nicely charred on the outside and soft inside, chop them up and add to the bowl. Squeeze the juice of two limes and add to the bowl. Slice the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pits and scoop the flesh out from the skins with a spoon. Always add the avocados last and don't over mix if you want a chunky texture. Mash lightly until the desired texture and consistency is achieved. Add more spices and lemon juice as needed.
(Image: Kathryn Hill)