Pico de Gallo – Traditional Mexican Salsa
If you’ve been to Mexico, then you know the routine when first sitting down in most restaurants. The waiter takes your drink order then while you are looking over the menu, you are offered some fresh salsa with nacho chips and limes. This is the perfect appetizer with a cold beer or margarita after a long day in the hot sun. Most Mexican restaurants make their salsa in house, fresh, daily. This ubiquitous Mexican specialty is commonly known as Pico de Gallo, which translates as “rooster’s beak”. The expression is likely a metaphor for those snacking on it by poking nacho chips into a bowl of salsa in a manner that resembles a rooster pecking at a dish of bird seed. It’s not as good the next day but you could use the leftover salsa to make Ranchero Eggs for brunch.
Gluten Free Chips
For an authentic Mexican touch, serve with homemade corn tortilla chips or your favorite store brand. I recommend either Que Pasa, organic tortilla chips or plain Charras brand, corn tosdadas. They are as close to homemade as you can get in store brands, as they are made with corn flour. They contain no wheat flour, so they are gluten free as well.
During a recent visit to Puerto Vallarta, chef Diego, at the Villamagna, asked if he could do anything to improve my breakfast. I asked if it would be possible to have some fresh Pico de Gallo to go with my omelet. He returned from the kitchen a few minutes later with the most delicious concoction I’d ever sampled. He then explained how it was made.
- 4-5 plum or Roma tomatoes (chopped in cubes, about 3 cups)
- ½ white onion (finely chopped, about 1 cup)
- 1 medium jalapeno or serrano pepper (finely chopped, leave seeds in for spicy, remove for mild)
- ½ cup cilantro (fresh coriander, finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp lime juice (1 small lime)
- ½ tsp sea salt (or to taste)
In a mixing bowl, combine the onion, pepper, lime and salt. Allow to marinate as you clean and chop the tomatoes.
Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro
Transfer to a serving dish a serve with nacho chips and limes
Serrano peppers are hotter than jalapenos and are typically used in the parts of Mexico where they are grown, especially Jalisco and Nayarit. The trick to a less watery salsa is to use only the meaty flesh of the tomatoes and remove the inner section containing the seeds. To do this, slice the Roma tomatoes in half, lengthwise, then scoop out the runny liquid and seeds from the middle, leaving just the meatier part of the tomato. Lightly press the halves flat, skin side down, on your cutting board, and finely dice them with a sharp chef’s knife.