Pico de gallo is one of my favorite summer foods. Sure, you can eat it year round, but the tomatoes are so much tastier in the summer, jalapenos are a bit hotter and you may even have fresh cilantro in your garden. And amazingly, the finished product is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Lime, garlic and salt magically transform tomatoes (and a few other things) into the perfect multi-purpose condiment. But as much as I love pico de gallo, I hate the way homemade versions have a pool of tomato juice at the bottom of the bowl. They either leave your tortilla chips limp or you end up straining the liquid while you scoop. And don’t even get me started on how the juice can destroy your taco! So while this pico de gallo recipe is pretty standard, I added a step to help avoid the dreaded tomato juice issue. Trust me, it is worth the extra time.
And now for the big reveal – we’re going to salt the tomatoes for a few minutes before mixing up the pico de gallo. So much of the flavor in tomatoes comes from their jelly, that gooey material in the middle. We don’t want to miss out on any of that goodness. By salting the chopped tomatoes we are removing some of the liquid, not the flavor. Chop the tomatoes and place them in a fine mesh strainer with a bit of salt. And wait. Of course you could be productive during this time and prep the rest of your ingredients. But this is when Z and I have a family dance party. (Picture 1 overly-excited 3 year old, 1 tired mom and Top 40 music – think anything by Pharrell or from the Frozen soundtrack.)
So you may be thinking that this recipe calls for a ton of tomatoes, and you would be correct. Why? Because you are going to want a ton of pico de gallo. And once you start chopping tomatoes, what difference is a few more? And you will eat it until it is gone. Or take it to work and see it disappear in minutes. Doesn’t matter, it really is that good.
A quick note on jalapenos: Be careful cutting them. They can burn your skin, so wear gloves if possible. And remember, each pepper is different and some are hotter than others. The summer usually brings hotter jalapenos than what you find during the winter, so add just a bit at a time. We need milder pico de gallo, so I only use 1 pepper. Add more if you like more kick.
|Pico de Gallo|| |
- 2 pounds of tomatoes - the most flavorful kind you can find
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup finely diced red onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped - more to taste
- Chop tomatoes into a small dice and place in colander.
- Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and stir.
- Allow them to sit for 10-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have lost a lot of their liquid.
- Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and stir well.
- Allow the pico de gallo to sit in the fridge for about a half an hour, allowing the flavors to combine.
- Adjust salt and lime to taste.