Pico de gallo is one of those staple recipes that everyone should have on hand, and always make homemade! In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo, also called salsa fresca or salsa cruda, is a fresh, uncooked salad made from chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, fresh serranos (you can use jalapeños or habaneros too), salt and lime juice. This easy, healthy and flavorful condiment is the best topping for all of your Mexican food favorites. Serve it with tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, Huevos rancheros, on top of grilled chicken or fish, over Carne Asada, or just plain with tortilla chips!
This tomato-based salsa is is also widely known as salsa picada (minced/chopped sauce). In Mexico it is normally called salsa mexicana (Mexican sauce). Because the colors of the red tomato, white onion, green chili and cilantro are reminiscent of the colors of the Mexican flag.
Tips for making the Best Pico de Gallo
(1) Make sure you are using super ripe tomatoes. Sad pink tomatoes do not make good pico de gallo. Roma tomatoes are a good choice since they are less watery, but use the most red, ripe tomato variety available.
(2) Core and remove the seeds from the tomatoes to keep the salsa from getting soupy.
(3) Let the onion, hot peppers, lime and salt marinate while you chop the tomatoes and cilantro.
(4) Let your pico rest for 30 minutes before serving. This step gives the flavors time to mingle. As the tomatoes and remaining ingredients rest, the salt draws the moisture out of the ingredients and condenses their flavor.
(5) Serve with a slotted spoon. Tomatoes release a lot of moisture. Serving with a slotted spoon will will ensure you don’t transfer too much of the tomatoes juice while serving.
Optional variations on the classic recipe
(1) Use white onions or green onions (scallions) instead of red onion.
(2) Taste test as you go. Add more salt, more hot peppers, add minced garlic, a sprinkle of chili powder or Cayenne, or even some cumin! It’s completely up to you to alter the recipe to your tastes!
Simple Pico de Gallo
- 2-3 very ripe roma tomatoes, chopped core and remove the seeds from the tomatoes
- 1-2 diced serrano peppers use 1 for less heat, 2 for more
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. The salsa can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for several days.
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