A Mexican Classic
Pico de gallo is a raw salsa known as a salsa fresca, or “fresh salsa,” in Spanish. It is a delicious combination of Roma tomatoes, white onion, cilantro, serrano chile and a splash of lime juice. You will find it on every Mexican table. Did you know that pico de gallo translates as “rooster’s beak?”
How to Serve
Serve this pico de gallo recipe with carne asada, chicken, fish or beef tacos, molletes, and of course chips. You get bonus points if you make your own chips. Use it as a topping for just about anything. Don’t limit yourself to using it for Mexican food.
Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. If you serve it really cold it tastes flat. The subtle flavor of the ingredients don’t shine through. If you are not convinced, do a taste test. Eat a batch that is ice cold and then eat batch that is at room temperature. You will see the difference. I guarantee it.
It is a great party dish, quick to prepare, tasty and loved by everyone. You can make it year-round but it is especially delicious during summer when tomatoes are at their peak.
A Healthy Option
Mexican food has the reputation for being heavy and greasy, unjustly deserved in my opinion. This dish is the complete opposite. All vegetables, no fat. Totally guilt-free. Eat with reckless abandon. It is vegetarian and vegan to boot. Kids will eat it too because it is “salsa” not yucky vegetables and it works just as well with fussy adults who don’t like vegetables.
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 1 white onion
- 12 cilantro sprigs
- 2 serrano chiles
- 1 Mexican lime (see notes)
- Sea salt to taste
- Seed the tomatoes.
- Seed the serrano chiles.
- Remove the cilantro leaves and discard the stems.
- Finely chop the tomatoes.
- Finely chop the onion.
- Mince the serrano chile.
- Mince the cilantro leaves.
- Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle with the juice of one lime.
- Add sea salt to taste.
- Gently mix until the ingredients are evenly dispersed.
- Serve immediately.
Presentation counts. It such a simple dish so make sure that the ingredients are chopped evenly.
The juice of one lime brightens the flavor of the pico de gallo. If you add too much lime it overpowers the flavor of the other ingredients. You want to maintain a nice balance between the flavors of all of the ingredients.
Choose the Mexican Lime, also called the Key Lime when making pico de gallo. It is the tradtional lime for making Mexican food. The standard lime doesn't add the same bright flavor. Purdue University has some in depth information on the Mexican Lime which is quite interesting is you want to geek out on limes.
You can substitute jalapeño chiles for the serranos. The taste will be similar but the salsa won't be as hot.
Many recipes call for red onion but white onion is traditional.