What is pico de gallo?
Tomatoes are ripening in the garden, and while there’s nothing any better than a thickly sliced tomato with mayo on freshly baked bread, a zesty pico de gallo on a crunchy chip runs a close second. What is pico de gallo exactly? Similar to salsa, this “salad” is popular all over Mexico. The name itself translates into “Rooster’s Beak” or “Pecked by a Rooster,” but the name’s exact starting point isn’t super clear. I can definitely see a chip resembling a rooster’s beak as it’s plunged into the mix of chopped veggies (and fruit). Another writer explained that the “pop” of the spicy pico when it hits your tongue would be like a peck from a rooster. However the name began, different parts of Mexico have unique ingredients in their local pico de gallo ranging from jicama to beans to tomatoes, but what they all have in common is that the ingredients are all chopped. So get out your cutting boards and feel like you’re on Food Network!
Our simple pico is great as an appetizer with friends or as an addition to mashed avocado for a quick guacamole. The bright pop of fresh tomato, tart lime, and earthly cilantro all make this a must-have at your next cookout. While this chunky dip is usually fairly mild, you can make it as spicy (or not) as you like by adding in the jalapeno seeds or by throwing in a second jalapeno. A bit different from traditional salsa with its more liquid consistency, pico de gallo has distinct chunks of diced tomato, chopped onion, fresh garlic, lime, jalapeno, and roughly chopped cilantro. Throw it on a chip (or eggs, or beans, or quesadilla, or…) and call it a day! It whips up in a flash and will impress even your fanciest dinner guest. So what are you waiting for?
What you need:
2-3 ripe tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 jalapeno (seeded for a milder heat)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch cilantro
salt and pepper
Throw It Together
- Dice tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno and combine in a medium bowl. Mince garlic and roughly chop the cilantro and add to the tomato mixture, giving it a quick stir.
- Take half of your lime and juice it over your tomato mixture. Lightly salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- The most important part: Taste test! Try the pico on a chip and decide if you want more heat (add second jalapeno), more zest (add juice of 2nd half of lime), or a bit more salt. Be careful not to over-salt if you’re going to eat this on chips, since chips are pretty salty to begin with.
- Enjoy and invite others to dive in… or not. Your secret is safe with me.
Pico de gallo, whatever the name means, is a super simple addition to any summer meal. The bright flavors and colors add a pop of flavor and fun to the simplest meals. I personally love to have this on scrambled eggs in a pita with a few slices of avocado.
I’d love to know…what’s your favorite way to eat pico? Are you keeping it simple with chips or testing the culinary waters by adding it to something unexpected? Have a great week and happy gardening!