Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pico de Gallo - Chunky Salsa

With every taco truck meal I get, it's always the same internal monologue: "Which one of these salsas do I pile onto a pair of tacos?"

I like all types of salsas, from traditional soupy tomato sauce to a roasted green tomatillo Salsa Verde; and a dried chile, smokey Roja, to this one -- a chunky Pico de Gallo, which I think is one of the best.

Some salsas go through a cooking stage, but not this one. But it does take more chopping than the others. That all the ingredients are fresh is a big plus. Pico de Gallo is made from tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice.

You control the spiciness -- a little jalapeno or a lot, it's up to you. Do you like extra cool cilantro or the sweet heat of extra chopped onion? I do. This is the type of dish where there is no wrong way to do it. It's a perfect party appetizer that goes with tortilla chips or your favorite crackers -- make one bowl mild and the other extra spicy. It's also a fresh condiment for almost any entree.

Last summer I did a month of hot dog videos that included footage of a L.A. Street Dog (click here,) which is a grilled wiener wrapped in bacon. And the kicker is how it's served on the street -- yep, topped with Pico de Gallo!

If you have a Latin grocery in the neighborhood then all the ingredients will be way below 99 cents per pound. I've noticed most ethnic grocery stores have tomatoes and chiles cheaper than typical chain markets.

Just in time for sweltering summer days and nights, The 99 Cent Chef's cool Pico de Gallo salsa recipe is just a few chops away.


Ingredients (2 - 3 servings)
  • 2 cups diced tomato - I used about 5 roma tomatoes. Okay to use even more.
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion - about 1/2 regular onion
  • Handful of cilantro leaves - about 1/4 cup chopped. Okay to use more or less to taste.
  • 1/4 chopped jalapeno - to taste. Discard stem and seeds. You may want more or less depending on your heat tolerance.
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic - fresh or from jar
  • Juice of 1 lime - or about 2 tablespoons of juice . Okay to substitute with lemon juice.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
*A great lush addition is one chopped avocado, optional.


Directions
Chop all ingredients except lime. You could let a food processor roughly chop ingredients, but do each ingredient separately. I like to finely chop the onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro.

I hand chop the tomatoes, seeds and all, to a small size, but larger than the onion pieces. Add all the chopped veggies into a large enough bowl.


Squeeze in juice of one lime and mix well. Finally season with salt and pepper to taste. Optional to add chopped avocado - lastly, so you don't overmix it to mushiness.


Serve cold or at room temperature. Pico de Gallo served the same day is the best -- but even over a few days the flavors meld well and intensify deliciously.


This is a great topping for burgers (Mexi-Burger recipe,) hot dogs (LA Street dog recipe,) fish (Coconut Crusted Fish recipe,) your favorite salad (2 Minute Salad recipe,) or as a fresh tasting side dish. And of course it's a dip for all occasions and types of chips (not just tortilla chips.) I especially like Pico de Gallo sprinkled over my decadent Billionaires Crab Omelet (recipe here.)

3 comments:

twinkletoe said...

Mmm that looks delicious!! Have you ever figured out Titos Tacos salsa recipe???

Unknown said...

One of my Mexican friends suggested I substitute the vinegar/pickled jalapenos (I suggest La Morena brand) and some of the juice from the can for the jalapeno and lime juice. It's delicious. Not for all the time but it's a nice change up if you make pico de gallo a lot.

Billy Vasquez said...

hi Twinkletoe, not yet -- must go again soon ;-p

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