Nothing says let’s have a party more than whipping up a bowl of creamy, lime-kissed guacamole and setting it down next to a pile of crisp tortilla chips. Well, at least at my house that constitutes a party (especially with an ice-cold beer alongside). It seems like every time I make guacamole, the second it’s ready everyone is suddenly right there in the kitchen.
So the next time you are planning a party (Halloween is coming up fast, friends) remember this: guacamole makes a great base--a bumpy, grass-green landscape--for all sorts of inventive things. I decided to turn that yummy landscape into a fun and slightly creepy graveyard scene.
You can personalize this any way you want, but the general idea is to spread your vat of guac in a shallow baking dish (the spookier the better) and then plunge eerie crisp tortilla chips in the shapes of gravestones, ghosts and ghouls, and anything else you can think of, into the guac.
The tortilla chip shapes are cut from fresh corn tortillas and then shallow fried in a cast-iron skillet. It's easier than you might expect (especially if you stick to tombstones and ghosts) and takes less than a minute to bathe them in the hot oil and crisp them up. Some tips: be sure to use a sharp paring knife to cut out the shapes, leave room at the bottom so you can plunge the shape down into the guacamole, and once cut, get it into the oil quickly so it doesn’t dry out or curl up.
Get creative with your shapes (I made ghosts, tombstones, a creepy cat, and an ominous tree), and with what you put in the guac! I've given you a basic, and tasty, recipe for the guac, but feel free to add in other things you like: diced cucumber, minced jalapeño, a big spoonful of your favorite salsa...
If you want to make the guacamole up to 3 hours in advance, spread it in your dish, squeeze some lime juice over the top, then cover it with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the guacamole, and refrigerate until party time. You can cut and fry the chips earlier in the day, just let them cool then put them into an airtight container. Don't plunge them into the guacamole until the party starts, and make sure to make plenty of extra to replenish the scene.
Have a ghoulish time!
Recipe: Guacamole Graveyard
Makes enough for 6 people
- Corn tortillas*
- Canola oil
Tortilla tombstones and ghosts
*Note: 6 or 8 inch tortillas are fine; the amount you need depends on how many shapes you want to make. I made about 7 shapes to start with, and was able to cut 2 or 3 from each tortilla. Be sure to make extra, at least 2 to 3x more.
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1 ripe tomato, halved, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 to 2 limes
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- To make the tortilla tombstones and ghosts, cut out tombstone and ghost shapes (or get crazy and try a cat or a tree) from the tortillas using a sharp knife. They should be about 3 or 4 inches tall.
- In a heavy frying pan, warm 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the tortilla shapes and fry, turning once, until crisp, about 30 seconds to one minute. Remove with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain, flattening the shapes with the spatula if they start to curl.
- To make the guacamole, cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Using a metal soup spoon, scoop out the avocado flesh and add it to a mixing bowl. Discard the skins.
- Using a fork or potato masher, mash the avocado until not quite smooth. Add the tomato, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and stir to combine. Spread the guacamole in a shallow 9-inch square or round serving or baking dish (a pie or cake pan also works).
- Just before serving, set the ghosts and tombstones into the guacamole to create a graveyard. Dig in!