Salsa!! (Pico de Gallo)

Now I know salsa is not on the most practical end of little-kid foods.  It is spicy, there are specks, etc.  But for whatever reason, all four of my picky eaters (ages baby to 4 yrs) would all snarf the pico de gallo whenever we went to Baja Fresh, Chipotle, or Qdoba.  So since my husband and I LOOOOVE mexican food, I started trying to make my own pico at home.  After two futile years, and many seemingly similar recipes, I finally got something we all like.  It’s totally adjustable too, so flex it as you like.

Pico de Gallo

3 medium or 2 large tomatoes, hydroponic DOES make a difference! (sorry, regular people)

1 jalapeno pepper

1 med-small red onion

2tsp to 2  Tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 c. cilantro

2 or 3 limes

salt, garlic powder, cumin to taste

I’m not sure directions are really necessary, but here goes =)

1.  Dice up your tomatoes into small cubes.  There are some great youtube clips on how to dice properly.

2.  Chop up your jalapeno finely.  For non-spice, remove the pith and seeds.  For spice, mash up the pith and seeds, and add.  Beware!!  This can make it incredibly hot!  My husband and I like medium, so I only “kind of” mash up half the seeds by jabbing them with my knife handle a bit.  The pepper itself is not hot, though, so you don’t have to take it out for kids.  Keep it in!  It has amazing amounts of vitamin C, more than oranges.

3.  Chop up your red onion.  Again, consult youtube.  They show you how to slice your onion from bulb to tip first, which makes the difference in getting a good fine chop.  (You could use a white onion for more bland eaters).

4.  I have that garlic minced in a jar thing, so I kind of throw in 2 heaping tsp of it, but this is all relative.  Fresh would obviously be better but I hate having garlic bulbs around the pantry and not being sure how old they are or how long they will stay there =)

5.  Take 2-3 limes and squeeze all the juice in there.  Do not omit the LIMES. Repeat: Do not omit the LIMES.

6.  Mix it all up and season until you like it.  I tend to sprinkle the spices in a little at a time, continuing to taste.  But realize that the most important part of salsa is letting it sit for awhile.  You won’t know how it is really going to taste until 4-24 hrs later.  So don’t season for today’s immediate impact.  I think I sprinkle in a small palmful of kosher salt.  A small layer of sprinkled garlic powder and an even slightly smaller layer of cumin, just over the whole top.  Then mix in.  The salt should bring out the taste of the tomatoes, but if you can taste the salt itself, you put in too much.  Better luck next time, or cut some more tomatoes and onions.

7.  The last step: Cilantro!  So many people hate this herb, but I suppose not too many mexican lovers do, since it is in everything.  Get a fresh bunch and, after washing and patting dry, chop it up!  I guess I use anywhere from 1/2 to a whole cup, depending on how big my batch of tomatoes were.  Just take a nice handful and throw it in there.  My pieces are always too big, but smaller is ideal.  I stink at cutting up herbs… more youtube for me I guess.

8.  You’ll of course be snacking on it immediately, but it will be at its peak 12-24 hrs later.

*NOTE.  So much of salsa is proportions, which change from person to person.  You have to find a balance you like and eyeball it.  For this recipe, it makes about one medium tupperware amount of salsa (up to the brim), and the proportions of tomatoes to “everything else” is about half and half.  Usually a restaurant pico is closer to 3/4 tomatoes and 1/4 “everything else.”  And they almost always take out the tomato goop/seeds, using just the fleshy parts.  I didn’t do this unless the goop fell out intentionally.  Adjust as you like.


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