Authentic Pico De Gallo is a fresh mix of diced roma tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, red onion and squeezed lime juice. This Mexican classic can spice up any dish!
What does Pico De Gallo meano?
Pico de gallo has a surprising translation. Picco de gall is pronouned like PEEK-o day GUY-yo. Easy to say, right?
Pico de gallo is also interchangeably called salsa fresco (meaning fresh salsa) or salsa cruda. Whatever you call it, the juicy blend of tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, and fresh squeezed lime is called delicious in my book.
Now to explain pico de gallo’s translation. From Spanish to English, pico de gallo translates to “rooster’s beak.” There is no clear explanation of why, but I will tell you from personal experience, my chickens love any kitchen scraps, including pico de gallo.
How to make authentic Mexican Pico De Gallo
- Roma tomatoes are fleshy, can easily be deseeded, and fit in the palm of your hand, making them easier to work with and dice.
Pick fresh red tomatoes that smell vibrant and fragrant. Tomatoes lacking a bright red color, are too mushy to the touch, or have thin skin/flesh will not make a good pico de gallo.
These less than perfect tomatoes can produce a super watery pico de gallo, or leave your dish lacking that fresh summertime flavor.
- Give it time to marinate. Like any delicious dish, the ingredients are added methodically to bring out the deepest flavors and enhance others. Pico de gallo is no different.
Let pico de gallo rest in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to let the flavors marry, the juices to mix, and let it get a little cold. This has proven to be a crucial step for the most flavorful pico de gallo.
- Do not deseed the jalapeno. Pico de gallo is meant to have lots of flavors, and the addition of the jalapeno seeds really kicks it up a notch.
The heat of the jalapeno is held in the ribs and the seeds. The pico de gallo with jalapeno seeds is not spicey, it adds the perfect balance of flavor.
- Use a red onion. Red onions are generally used when a raw onion is used in a recipe. Why? The red onion does not hold up in flavor as well as a white or yellow onion when it is heated. Also, red onions have a sweeter tang to them, making them more tolerable to the average person’s palate when eaten raw.
- Dice finely. If you have a food processor, toss each ingredient in separately, and then add to the bowl one by one. This ensures that that blender is not over packed, and can dice the ingredients proficiently.
- Drain the tomatoes. After deseeding and dicing the tomatoes, throw them in a fine strainer and toss a pinch of salt on it. This will help expell the juices a little more. The pico de gallo will still continue to expel juices after it is initially strained, so don’t worry about it being dry!
- Serve with a slotted spoon. Pico de gallo is a wet dish since the onion and tomatoes will continue to expel their juices. To serve pico de gallo, grab a slotted spoon to serve it.
- Seasoning Tip: Remember, the salt helps to draw out the juices from the tomatoes. Always taste your pico de gallo before serving and adjust the salt if needed.
- Herbs: While cilantro is traditional, consider experimenting with fresh parsley or even mint for a different twist.
- Heat Level: If you want a spicier pico de gallo, consider adding a serrano pepper or a dash of cayenne.
- Citrus Twist: Occasionally, replace lime juice with lemon or even a mix of both for a slightly varied citrus hint.
- Texture: For a more rustic and chunky texture, try hand-chopping all the ingredients instead of using a food processor.
- Roma Tomatoes: A fleshy variety with fewer seeds, ideal for salsa. However, you can also use vine-ripened tomatoes if Roma isn’t available.
- Fresh Cilantro: Provides a citrusy and aromatic touch. If not a fan, parsley can serve as a mild substitute.
- Red Onion: Offers a sweet and sharp flavor, making it ideal for raw dishes. Shallots could serve as a milder alternative.
- Jalapeno: Adds a kick to the dish. For a milder flavor, deseed the jalapeno or use green bell peppers.
- Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice: Gives a zesty freshness. Can be replaced with lemon juice if desired, but lime is more authentic.
- Refrigeration: Store your pico de gallo in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s best enjoyed within 2-3 days, but can last up to a week.
- Freezing: It’s not recommended to freeze pico de gallo as the tomatoes can become mushy upon thawing. However, if you wish to do so, consume it within 2 months for best quality.
- Draining Excess Liquid: Over time, the salt in the pico de gallo will cause the vegetables to release more juice. Before serving from the fridge, consider draining any excess liquid to maintain the desired consistency.
How to use pico de gallo
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Pico De Gallo
- 5 roma tomatoes halved, and deseeded
- 1 red onion
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 lime halved and squeezed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Cut the tomatoes in half, and use a spoon to deseed them. Discard seeds. Place tomatoes in a blender and blend until finely chopped, or chop finely with a knife. Place in a strainer and throw a pinch of salt on it. Let tomatoes rest in a strainer for 5 minutes.
- Chop onion, jalapeno (do not deseed), and cilantro finely. Place in a bowl. Add tomatoes to the bowl.
- Halve the lime, and squeeze the lime juice in the bowl with the produce mixture. Toss in salt, and stir to combine. Place the bowl in the fridge for 10-20 minute to get cold and let the flavors marry. Mangia!
Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.
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