Pico de Gallo has undoubtedly been my Covid/2020 food. I’ve been making it sometimes several times a week since the initial lockdown in March 2020. I’ve slowly honed the method and ingredients how I like, to which I will elucidate in due course!
- 10 oz. of salad/grape/cherry tomatoes (tip below)
- 1/2 medium sized red onion
- 2 jalapeños
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
- A “bunch” of cilantro (tip below)
- 1 or 2 limes
- Salt & pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you’re looking to do this quick and forget about reading the rest of my tortuous ramblings, finely dice the tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, and cilantro. Salt to taste and add a dash of pepper and olive oil. Squeeze the lime/limes over the top. You can eat immediately, but it’s beneficial to cool it and let it sit for a few hours/overnight.
Read on for my various tidbits of wisdom!
Tip #1: I’ve been using these almost exclusively for my salsa since I discovered them. They’re extremely consistent regardless of the weather as they’re grown in greenhouses. From what I can tell, they should be readily available in most places (in the US, at least).
Tip #2: This is a fairly silly trick, but I found it works well without having to go crazy about being specific. I use a pile of cilantro about the size of half of the red onion. I remove as many of the long thick stems as I can without going too wild.
Overall, everything in this recipe gets a fairly fine dice!
I start with the onion. If you’re not familiar with how to finely dice an onion, I’ll just go ahead and let Mr. Gordon Ramsay explain:
It’ll certainly look like an ENORMOUS amount of chopped onion at first but just roll with it.
I peel and cut the root off of the garlic and then press it. I want the strong flavor of garlic, but I don’t necessarily want to be eating pieces of garlic.
Next, dice the jalapeños. If you de-vein and de-seed the peppers, you’ll be left with little to no heat at all. If you leave them in, depending on the batch of peppers, you can get quite a punch (and also some added flavor)! It’s completely up to you!
Now for the tomatoes. Are these tiny little tomatoes a pain to cut up into tiny pieces? Yes. Yes, they are. However, with a little practice and a SHARP serrated knife, you can make quick work of them!
I start by cutting them in half and laying them flat (see the back of the photo). I will then cut that half in half (on the right). Then while holding it together, cut as many times across as you need to finish it off. Let the serrated blade do the work! If you push down on them, you’ll just get a cutting board filled with tomato snot. Some of the tomatoes are going to be softer than the others. You’re not going to be able to dice every tomato flawlessly.
This is where I add my salt, pepper, and EVOO. Take into account how much salt is on the chips and/or dish you’ll be serving this with! I find that 1 teaspoon of salt works great for me. As for pepper, I just do a turn or two on my mill. You don’t want a noticeable presence of pepper, just a little bit of that woody character. Finally, a very light drizzle of olive oil will just add a little smoothness to the finished texture.
For the limes, I simply use a citrus squeezer. You can easily use your hands, of course. As with squeezing any citrus, don’t squeeze too hard! Once you start getting the juice from the pith and the skin, it can get bitter and much more sour.
Additional lime tip: The more yellow a lime is, the sweeter it will be! Dark green limes tend to be a bit more bitter and sour. Limes ripen on the tree and turn from green to yellow. So don’t look at a yellow lime as being “old”. It’s not the color you should worry about in terms of freshness, but actually how shiny and/or dry it looks.
Now for the hardest part by far. Give it a good stir and put it in the fridge. Don’t even bother tasting it. This needs to sit for a few hours (or optimally overnight) so that everything can meld. Later when you visit the fridge for an ill-advised snack before bed, just turn it all over with a spoon to help distribute all of the ingredients.
- Depending on how much juice you’re able to get out of the lime, you can always add a second one. Or, if you want, you can use lemon instead! Just be careful with the seeds.
- I’ve made it with serrano peppers as you’re traditionally supposed to do, but I didn’t enjoy the flavor as much as the jalapeños. Your mileage may vary.
- I tried using habaneros as well. That was hot. Extremely hot. But you do you!
- If you add a couple heaping spoonfuls of this to some salted avocado, you have guacamole. But shhh, don’t tell my other recipe that!
- If you find the citrus tang to be overpowering, you can tame it a bit by adding sugar. Be careful and taste constantly. Once you get this wrong, it’s tragic and unfixable. Also, try to change your lime picking game!
Enjoy! If you make any of this, please take artsy pictures and send them to me! I’d like to add them to a little gallery at the bottom of this page.
Originally Posted: 2/5/20
Updated and Modified: 12/6/21-Chris Potako
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