It’s time to revisit Pico de Gallo. Last week we discussed the making of Chile Verde, best served with rice and beans and fresh Pico de Gallo. Pico de Gallo is a chunky red salsa that’s so easy to make, and the fresh flavors are so perfect with so many foods. We’ve actually taken to making a large batch of Pico at the beginning of the week. It lives in the fridge all week while we add it to whatever we happen to be eating throughout the week.
One of the excellent qualities of Pico de Gallo is its flexibility to become whatever YOU want it to be.
You always start with the foundational veggies: tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro. At least that’s how I start. I know people who leave out the cilantro because they don’t care for it. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to personalizing your Pico to your own tastes.
If you want to liven up your pico try substituting red onions for the regular yellow ones. Or add black beans (partially drained) and finely chopped jalapeno. Voila! Black bean salsa! Vary the type of of tomatoes you use or mix them up a bit. Experiment with different chiles, either fresh or roasted, for some extra “heat” in your Pico. Add some ground black pepper or ground cumin for a slightly different twist. (Those little red peppers pictured below are habaneros; if you use all three of those little bad boys in your salsa, you’ll end up with a 5-alarm salsa that is not for the faint of heart.)
So, here’s what I chop up and set aside a few hours before dinner:
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 6 roma tomatoes (you can use any type of tomato; the non-roma varieties will give you a slightly sweeter, juicier salsa)
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- the juice of 1 to 2 limes
- salt to taste
Everything gets chopped and mixed together. We usually double or triple this basic recipe for our family.
The longer the Pico sits, the more complex the flavors get. It’s great for serving with Chile Verde, eggs, beans, burritos, etc., as well as dipping with chips.
One interesting thing that we’ve discovered is that the time of year affects the flavors we get in our Pico de Gallo. With summer coming, a big bowl of fresh Pico is simply essential!