We’ve been talking about cilantro quite a bit the past few weeks, and it made me start craving Pico de Gallo. There are tons of recipes for Pico, but one thing all of them have in common is cilantro.
*Rabbit trail warning: Did you know that when the cilantro goes to seed in your garden, the seeds are called coriander? Another delicious spice, and it’s mentioned in the Bible: “Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” Exodus 16:31 – now doesn’t that sound delicious?
A couple things about the ingredients –
I use Roma tomatoes because they have more flesh and are firmer when you chop them. I always get rid of the tomato guts when I make Pico – just slice the tomato in half and hollow it out. The flesh that’s left is firm and will hold its shape in the mixture.
If you aren’t familiar with tomatillos, they’re like little green tomatoes wearing jackets. You know a tomatillo is ready to use when its papery jacket is dry and starting to split. To use the tomatillo, take it out of its jacket, wash it, and remove the stem with the point of a knife. Then just slice and chop it.
I used Anaheim chilies in this batch of Pico, because that’s what I had in the freezer. You could use any hot pepper – jalapeno, Serrano, habanero – as long as it isn’t so hot you don’t want to eat it. The Anaheims are a bit milder than the others. Oh, and make sure you wear gloves when handling hot peppers (I keep disposable latex gloves on hand), and remove ALL the seeds.
And the final hint – when I’m chopping veggies like tomatoes (firm skins, tender flesh), I always use a serrated knife – actually an old steak knife from who knows where (I had it before we were married thirty years ago). The serrated knife cuts through the outer skin without crushing the more tender flesh of the fruit or veggie.
Ingredients (makes about 4 cups of Pico de Gallo):
3 Roma tomatoes
1 Jalapeno pepper, Anaheim Chile or other hot pepper to taste
¼ Bell pepper (green, yellow or red)
¼ onion – yellow will be stronger than white
¼ cup chopped Cilantro, or more – I tend to use more like ½ cup
1 Tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste
Chop the tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and onions to uniform sizes – I like anywhere between ¼” to ½”. Stir together. Isn’t it pretty? Like Christmas, or the Mexican flag!
Stir in the chopped cilantro, and then the lime juice. Taste it, and salt it if needed.
Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving to let the flavors blend.
Serve with chips, or on tacos, or as a garnish for enchiladas, or as a topping for salad …
What’s your favorite way to use Pico de Gallo?