Pico De Gallo - Printable Version
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Pico De Gallo - Boomer - 11-14-2010 03:03 PM
I am looking for a fast, easy, but TASTY recipe for pico de gallo. First off, the few times I have tried it the water from the tomatoes ruins it. The spices wash all over. Sometimes it gets soggy. It is one of those thing I LOVE (especially on omlettes!) but for the life of me I just cannot get mine to come out well. It has to be something I can make in small quantities - like a small bowl - that can last for a day or two, or in larger quantities (aka Super Bowl Sunday). I have had about enough of the regular salsas, but with pico its made fresh, very tasty, and probably doesnt take a whole lot of effort to put together a dish for just about anything you can think of.
I tried a couple online recipes which weren't bad, but the Bubba folk 'round these parts are a lot more knowledgeable, and maybe even a bit more skilled. I HEAR Brutus is a great cook in his own right, but rumor has it his buddy ol pal Bubba is giving him a run for his money!
RE: Pico De Gallo - Brutus - 11-15-2010 12:20 PM
Try quartering your tomatoes and then running your thumb along the insides to remove the seeds and watery stuff. Pick tomatoes that when ripe are still firm. Romano tomatoes work for me. Then add garlic, sweet onions, hot peppers,lime or lemon juice and a bit of EVOO. Cilantro is optional but I like. Keep your dice uniform so you get equal amounts on whatever you're scooping with. Or better yet read this. It's something I put together for possible inclusion in the menu at Bubba's.
Pico de Gallo
For many years I lived in El Paso, Texas. El Paso lies just south and east of one of the most productive chile growing areas in America. At the time I owned a Harley Wide Glide and it was a wonderful drive to cruise up the Mesilla Valley through Las Cruces, New Mexico to Hatch. Just the sort of drive a Harley was made for in my opinion. Cruising at 50 mph past fields of cotton, lettuce and chiles, all fed by irrigation canals and ditches flowing from the Rio Grande. After leaving Anthony, New Mexico, the road cut through Stahmann’s Orchards; two miles of straight road bordered by pecan trees spreading their branches above me in an arbor of green. Magical! Ahead, in the small, dusty town of La Mesa, sat my all-time favorite Mexican restaurant, Chope’s Bar and Café. It was Chope who first introduced me to “real” Chile Rellenos, Enchiladas and Tamales all prepared fresh with chiles he had grown himself. Chope’s is a rustic, local joint with atmosphere to spare and biker friendly too. Before I had a chance to plant myself at the table a basket of warm tortilla chips was placed in front of me with sides of guacamole, a very hot red salsa and a bowl of an uncooked fresh salsa called Pico de Gallo. The latter became one of my all-time faves and once I found out how simple it was to prepare I started to make it on a regular basis.
Pico de Gallo (also known as salsa fria, cruda, fresco and Mexicana to name a few) has a hazy and confusing etymology. Literally Spanish for “rooster’s beak” it may be referring to the beak-like shape of the Serrano chiles used in some recipes. I prefer to believe it derives (Hey! It’s my recipe!) from the Spanish verb picar (to mince or chop or to take a bite, sting or peck) and gallo, a rooster, a common metaphor for the macho male. An example of this machismo is demonstrated by us roosters who like to brag about how hot we can take it. Then again, “Pico de Gallo” is used colloquially to mean “chicken feed” and perhaps this finely-chopped salsa somewhat resembles the food given to chickens.
• 3 medium tomatoes, ripe but still a little firm, diced.
• 1 medium, sweet onion, diced
• 3 or 4 jalapeños deseeded and diced.
• 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced.
• ½ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped.
• The juice of one lemon or lime
The main objective and something to strive for in prep is to try and make your dice uniform. Then when you dip your tortilla chip into the salsa you get a nice even distribution of ingredients and taste. The ingredient list above is flexible and open to personal interpretation. Want it hotter? Put in more peppers. You can mix and match peppers too. Serrano chilies are perhaps more traditional but a little harder to find. Use more cilantro or none at all depending on how it rings your chimes. Use lime juice or red or white wine vinegar if you prefer. Some people add roasted corn, chunks of avocado, green onions instead of sweet or perhaps a tablespoon or two of olive oil?
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss well. Let it sit on the counter for at least an hour or in the fridge overnight. This gives the flavors a chance to harmonize. Every now and then give it another toss. Taste it. See what you might want to change to suit your taste. I like Pico with corn chips but it is also great with burritos, fajitas and spooned into a soup or stew. I love it on my scrambled eggs or on grilled meats and poultry. Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit and spoon the Pico into the hollow. ļÁndale!
RE: Pico De Gallo - Boomer - 11-15-2010 01:31 PM
Thank you Senor Brute! I see part of the problem. wrong tomato type. I really enjoy the entire story about El Paso and Harleys too! My brother lives in El Paso and hope to ride down on the Heritage to see him next summer. We'll try this sometime after Thanksgiving - I always make a turkeyleftover omlette after Thanksgiving, and thats why I asked. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Mr Bubba- can we include this in the menu?!?! That seems like a perfect fit to me!
RE: Pico De Gallo - Brutus - 11-15-2010 04:02 PM
If you are down that way will you be riding or driving? Either way, you should do the ride I described and drop into Chope's. I really miss El Paso and even Juarez, although it may be the most murderous city in the western hemisphere at the moment. It was always a bit dicey there but as long as you could walk and talk you could usually count on getting out alive. Between the drug wars and the 100s of missing women it no longer seems like a cool night out. When it was just pot it was fairly safe but when it became a cocaine shipping hub it all went south. So many police are dying and when the only person taking the chief of police job in a surrounding town is a 20-year-old school girl ya gotta wonder, eh?
RE: Pico De Gallo - Boomer - 11-15-2010 07:42 PM
Most likely riding - I am looking for as much riding time as I can get. Chope's sounds like an excellent place, but I am curious how many other spots I might stumble onto down there. Wife was born and raised in Tuscon so I am always on the lookout for places like Chopes. My brother works for some federal boundary water agency who manages storm water and sanitary services around the border. He sends me these Homeland Security warnings all the time warning their employees not to go to places all over Central America. Its gotten so crazy he calls me everytime they find another body on the border. Its too bad, too, because that is an area ripe in history. Just too bad things have deteriorated as they have- like you said it sure makes you wonder.
RE: Pico De Gallo - 2Beers - 11-15-2010 07:52 PM
Sometimes when we make ours we will use green onions or red onions, yellow or orange or red sweet peppers. For fun my mom grows her jalapenos in a large flower pot all year round. We will let some of them turn to a nice deep red and use them in the pico as well, and Brutus is correct on making sure the dice is a uniform cut .
RE: Pico De Gallo - Boomer - 11-15-2010 08:06 PM
Hey thanks! My notion is that if I can master this, I might have to make a sweet dish for my wife and a spicey dish for me. I still cannot understand how a woman who was born AND raised in Tuscon Arizona does not like spicey food. I remember a couple years ago I grew some habaneros, poblanos, bells, and jalapenos in my garden. I miss the jalapenos the most because I used them in EVERYTHING I ate. I let one plant go totally red, and wow - those are mighty tasty.
Thanks for the suggestion!
RE: Pico De Gallo - RN-PRN - 11-15-2010 08:42 PM
Yum!! I haven't made this in forever. I love hot food...the hotter the better! I will have to make some after Thanksgiving as well
RE: Pico De Gallo - Boomer - 11-15-2010 09:02 PM
It would be nice to master this in the next few weeks. I have a few construction cronies who love hot hot hot stuff, and this would be a great dish for the holiday party, too.
RE: Pico De Gallo - Mufasa - 11-15-2010 09:41 PM
I bring back groceries when we go to Jamaica, and there is a local "doctor" that makes scotch bonnet sauce...
Lord have mercy that stuff is like trowin fire don ya trote mon! It sneaks up on you - real quiet like, and then releases napalm on your tongue.