Why I love Pico De Gallo?
I think I’ve LOVED every salsa I’ve ever tasted. But pico de gallo–the original Mexican salsa–will always be one of my favorites.
Why a favorite? How about it’s super simple to make (only 5 ingredients)! I know I could just stop there. But then there’s the fresh Southwestern flavor that bursts forth with every bite. Pico screams SUMMER!
But because there’s also a bit of mystery with pico de gallo…well that makes it even more a favorite.
Who doesn’t love a good mystery?
Pico de gallo–pronounced “peek-o day guy-o“–means “rooster’s beak.“
But why would this classic Mexican salsa be named for a rooster’s beak? That, kids, is the mystery!
There are plenty of thoughts on this.
Some say the bright colors of the pico de gallo resemble a rooster’s feathers. I can see that.
Others say that pico de gallo may have originally been eaten using the thumb and forefinger, which looks like a rooster pecking at it’s feed. Yes I see that too.
Or maybe, since the ingredients are cut so small, it can easily be eaten by a rooster’s beak. Maybe so.
It all makes perfect sense. So I say pick your favorite pico story along with this recipe, and whip up a batch. It is so good!
It’s a classic Mexican dish!
There are so many variations of pico de gallo. Some people add radishes or jicama. I’ve even seen it with added fruit. Mango and watermelon come to mind. I have to say I’d love pico de gallo with just about anything added.
But the ingredients for a truly CLASSIC pico don’t vary. It has just FIVE ingredients–tomatoes, red or white onion, serrano pepper, fresh cilantro, and lime juice.
The ingredients are always raw, always fresh, and always chopped to a fine dice.
So keep your blender and food processor on the shelf and prepare to practice your knife skills for this delicious salsa fresca.
How do you make Pico de Gallo?
- Chop tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro into a fine dice.
- Place the chopped ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
- Mix in the lime juice and the optional ingredients (garlic, cumin and salt) if you’re adding them.
- Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Get out the chips and START EATING!
Helpful Hints and Suggestions
- For the tomato:
- Ripe roma tomatoes are my preference. Easy to cut and not too seedy or juicy. But any ripe tomatoes will do. Squeeze out some of the juice/seeds before chopping if they’re not roma.
- For the onion:
- Red onion will give you a little extra color.
- White onion will give you a stronger flavor.
- You can use a combination, if you prefer. (That’s my favorite way)
- For the pepper:
- Serrano—used in classic pico—a medium hotness but spicier than jalapeno (5 times spicier than the jalapeno)
- Jalapeno—easy to find and not as spicy as the serrano
- Habanero—SPICY! So use just a little to “TICKLE” your taste buds or all of it if you want to BURN them off!
- Red or green bell pepper (if you don’t want it spicy at all).
- I like a combination of serrano and jalapeno if I have them on hand).
- REMEMBER to use gloves when chopping! Remove the seeds and membranes if you want to limit the heat.
- Optional ingredients:
- Garlic—minced fresh garlic
- I skip the jarred stuff or garlic powder since I want this fresh but it’s your choice.
- Try not to overdo the garlic. This is hard to do if you’re a garlic lover like member but too much garlic will overpower the pico. Been there.
- Cumin—My family thinks I put cumin in EVERYTHING. Truer than I care to admit, but it does kick classic pico up a notch or two. It’s so good in this recipe.
- Salt—I pass on the extra salt because there’s plenty of salt in the chips I eat it with. But you salt lovers can add salt to taste if you so desire. Start out with 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Garlic—minced fresh garlic
How to serve pico de gallo?
With plain old tortilla chips, of course. But give it a try with grilled fish or as topping on your next batch of fajitas, tacos or burritos. Yum!
Other Favorite Salsas
Pico de Gallo
- 6 Roma tomatoes diced (about 3 cups)
- 1/2 medium red onion or white onion diced
- 1-2 cups cilantro minced
- 1-2 serrano or jalapeno pepper minced (remove seeds and membrane if you don’t like it spicy)
- 1 small lime juiced
- 1 garlic clove minced (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
- In a large bowl, COMBINE all ingredients. MIX thoroughly.
- Let mixture REST for about 10 minutes before serving.
- SERVE with tortilla chips (Best to eat fresh or it gets watery).