Next to salsa, pico de gallo is the ultimate Mexican condiment. Translating to beak of the rooster, or roosters beak, it is something we’ve all come to expect when we eat Mexican food. Unlike salsa, pico de gallo doesn’t vary much. The ingredients are basically the same and they are always fresh. The fact that the ingredients are always fresh and never cooked is one of the main distinctions between it and salsa and also the reason you may hear it called salsa fresca which translates to fresh sauce.
Pico de gallo will always have some sort of combination of tomato, cilantro, lime, onion and chilies. Some people may use serrano or habenero chilies but I use jalapeños for this recipe as they tend to be the most readily available.
One of the other main distinctions about pico de gallo is that it isn’t blended or watery like a lot of salsas tend to be. Salsas can be raw or cooked, thick or thin or somewhere in between. It is almost like a salad and can even be eaten so. Because there is so little liquid in it, it can be put in tacos and burritos without leaking out the bottom and drowning the tortilla. The thing that I love most about pico de gallo is the refreshing simplicity of it and all the flavors that I’ve come to associate with summer. You can’t get it from a can because it must be fresh. It is a great recipe to make in the middle of the summer when all of the ingredients are in season and at the peak of their flavor. Just in time for all of our barbeques, pool side parties, fourth of July and festivals.
The easiest way to prepare this recipe is to chop and measure out all of the ingredients beforehand and mix them up when they are ready. It doesn’t get any easier than that! You can either eat it right away or let it marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour or so until the flavors marry and then serve it. Either way it will be delicious.
- 2 Cups tomatoes chopped small (about half an inch or less)
- 1/3 Cup diced red onion
- 1/3 Cup chopped cilantro
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1 or 2 Tablespoons of minced jalapeño
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Chop and measure all ingredients. Use one tablespoon of jalapeño for a mild dish and two tablespoons for a spicier one.
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Serve right away or let it marinate.
- Serve as a garnish on tacos or enchiladas, a filling in burritos or as a dip for chips.