Every now and then I get a little nostalgic slash guilty for rep-ing Italy all the time with pastas, caprese, and desserts, so this was a journey back to my roots. I have been preparing this dish since I could use a knife, maybe 12 or 13 or so. It was fun, easy, and quick. And the good thing is that it can’t really be runined, the worst that could happen is adding too much of anything, but, if you are patient and add ingredients slowly, tasting every once in a while, it will turn out great every time. Trust your palate. Anyway, it was good to feel a little Mexican running through me while I made this, literally my tongue and fingers on fire from cutting and tasting the chile in the salsa; it brings a new meaning to hot-blooded Mexicans. But once you feel the fire, you can’t get enough of it. Eyes all watery but still grabbing that chip for another punch of heat. There’s nothing like taking the heat every once in a while, maybe to prove something, or maybe just for the thrill. Just be sure to have something that has a high fat content- milk, cheese, red meat, etc. to cut the heat if you can’t take it.
One of my favorite food snippets is the the one for “Pico de Gallo.” The english translation for this Mexican side is “beak of rooster.” The reason for this naming is because all the ingredients in this salsa should be chopped small enough that the rooster can grab it with his beak. Those chopped ingredients include tomato, chile, and onion. And that sums up the basic prep for this salsa. Just add some lime, salt, cilantro and comé (eat).
Here are the ingredients:
- 3 medium tomatoes or 1 1/2 large tomatoes
- 1/4 red onion
- 1-2 Serrano chiles
- 2 limes
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
1. Chop the tomatoes. Wash, then, take out the stem first. Chop into small pieces as shown below. Its ok if they are not perfect. Then place tomatoes in bowl.
2. Chop the red onion. Lay flat and cut a slice through horizontally. Then cut lengthwise but do not cut all the way to the end so the onions stays in tact. Then chop width-wise. Chop more if pieces need to be smaller. Match the size of the tomato pieces you chopped beforehand. Then place SOME onions in bowl. All of it may be too much.
3. Chop the serrano chiles. Be careful, because if the chiles are hot, your fingers may burn. DO NOT TOUCH your eyes in this step- you may never want to make pico de gallo salsa again. Do this by washing one chile first, removing the stem, and cutting in half lengthwise. Remove some of the seeds with a sharp knife-this is where all the heat comes from so the more seeds and veins you remove, the less hot the chile will be. Lay the cut side down for each half and slice lengthwise into the tiniest strips you can. Then chop width-wise into tiny pieces like below. Then, using the knife to scoop up chile pieces, place in bowl. Try to touch the chile as little as possible. Some people even wear gloves for this part. Do not cut other chile until you try the salsa and check to see if you can handle the heat.
4. Then, de-stem the cilantro. Simply, wash them and remove the leaves from the stem. Then, bunch all the leaves together tightly and chop. Throw them into the salsa.
5. Then juice 2 limes over the bowl. Make sure you remove any seeds.
6. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of salt- check taste before you add more.
7. Try the salsa with the chips or tortillas that you will eat it with because if the chips are salty, you do not want to add too much salt to the salsa. Also, decide if you want to add more of the onions, chile, lime or other ingredient. I prefer lots of lime and can put 3 in, instead of 2, but you may not love the citrus as much as I do. Just make it to your tastes and it will be great.