While I was in seminary, my friend, Tom, used to throw some delicious parties at his home. The much anticipated centerpiece of Tom’s food spread was always Pico de Gallo. Since Tom was often running behind in his party preparations, I typically went over early to help with the last minute details. More times than not, this meant I helped make the Pico. This was a brilliant way to learn the recipe by heart, so thank you, Tom.
I try to make at least one batch of Pico per year, and since the tomatoes have finally begun to ripen up around here, I got to make my first Pico just yesterday. My suggestion is to make a large batch to bring to a party, or to work, which is what I usually do, but yesterday I decided to parcel it out in jars as gifts for friends who like spicy foods. We like ours nice and hot, but Tom trained me well… this “recipe” is very adaptable according to personal preference. Every ingredient is “to taste.” So if you like the fresh taste of summer, I would highly recommend you chop up a batch for yourself.
Here is the “Recipe”… and remember… eyeball it, adjust as you go… and Eat Well.
PICO de GALLO
* TOMATOES… as many ripe, juicy ones as you’ve got… diced by hand using a nice sharp knife. [I used 1 large and 3 small-med. beefsteaks and 1 medium brandywine. I think colored heirloom tomatoes would make this a gorgeous dish!!]
* ONIONS… any kind you like, as much as you like… diced by hand. [I used 3 small yellow and a bit of leftover chopped red.]
* JALAPENO PEPPERS, minced… the darker the color, and with striations, the hotter the pepper. [I used one large and one small, very hot. Note:the ribs, followed by the seeds, are the hottest part of the pepper, so depending on how hot you like it, you can use as much (or little) of these as you prefer. Be careful cutting. The oils will stay on your skin for awhile. Do not rub your eyes, nose, and lips, and do not let your pets or kids get a lick.]
* GARLIC cloves, minced. [Being that this IS a variable recipe, I managed to forget the garlic at first, and so I ended up adding it only to the remaining two jars. I used one large clove. I think two would have been better.]
* CILANTRO, nicely washed, tough stems removed, chopped. [I used two handfuls of leaves.]
* Fresh LIME, squeezed. [I used one whole lime.]
* SALT. [Be as generous as necessary with your salt. It really enhances the fresh taste of the tomatoes!!]
STIR and EAT with tortilla chips, on tacos, or by the spoonful!!
Of course, the longer you let the Pico sit, the more the flavors meld, but it doesn’t usually last that long at our house. In case of leftovers, you must refrigerate!!
Enjoy the feast!