Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How to make pico de gallo

It seems bad form to mention Sam's astonishingly yummy pico de gallo and then not give you a recipe for it. Here I will correct that grievous oversight.

pico de gallo salsa and tortilla chips

There are many variations on pico, but I'll just give you our preferred combination. In our case, it's a mild and chunky, non-saucy, sweetish and tangy salsa. It's all very simple.

Gather your ingredients:
     • tomatoes
     • onions — the sweeter the better — Walla Wallas if you're lucky enough to have 'em
     • cilantro
     • cabbage (the secret ingredient!)
     • lime juice
     • sea salt to taste (optional)

Everything that can be chopped, go ahead and dice into chunky pieces. Mix together in a large bowl and spritz with lime juice. Sprinkle coarse sea salt if you want a little more...well, saltiness.

There are no particular rules for how much of a certain item you need to put in. That's why it's a great end-of-summer recipe (can you believe it's September already??) for all of those tomatoes that are ready to harvest. If the combination you make feels too heavy on one item or another, remember that for next time, or balance it out if you have extra ingredients still on hand. There's no wrong way to make pico de gallo, as long as it tastes good to you!

For best taste, let it sit in the fridge for awhile to let the flavors run together. But if you can't resist eating it right away, I understand. I couldn't tell you how well this keeps, because ours never stays around that long. If I had to guess, I would imagine canning is possible, but freezing will change the texture of the tomatoes.

If you want more heat, add jalapeƱos or chiles at will.

But, as is, it makes a very nice treat for young mouths. It's mild enough for even very early eaters to give it a go, and since it's chunky, little fingers or adult helpers can preselect portions that will be appreciated. For instance, Mikko gobbles up all of the tomatoes he can lay hands on. At this point, we could probably add a little heat to ours, because Mikko enjoys some medium-hot salsas; so if you have kids who like the hot stuff, go ahead and make it as spicy as they want. That said, even though we enjoy spicy foods, it's refreshing to have this mild, fresh, juicy and crunchy treat.

The standard use for pico de gallo is to wolf it down with tortilla chips, but it also makes a lovely garnish for meals. Layer it over Mexican food (of course!), or use as a salsa topping for chicken, fish or eggs. It can even make for a unique relish on hot dogs or hamburgers!

¡Buen provecho!

Eerily accurate photo courtesy Alice Carrier on stock.xchng


Ayie said...

this is a nice side dish =) love this!

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