This Instructable sort of goes with my February Instructable on how to make a semi-authentic Salsa Verde. I suggested serving the Salsa Verde with Pico de Gallo, and Member Run N Gun requested a Pico Instructable. And why not? It is easy to make, it can be done quickly, and it tastes good. It just took me a while to get around to it because tomatoes, at least where I live, are pretty tasteless this time of year. But I finally made some Pico and put this together.
Unfortunately, I have no beach based, foreign flavored reminiscence to account for how I learned this particular skill. While I seldom encountered Salsa Verde, I served countless vessels of Pico de Gallo while working as a waitress (oops, sorry, waitperson, or server, or whatever they are called now) in college years ago. In fact, those of us on the wait staff also had to actually whip up a few vats of Pico ourselves on those rare occasions when the INS got frisky with the independent restaurateurs in town.
So here we go...
Step 1: Tools and Ingredients
You will need a sharp knife and a cutting board to cut and chop the ingredients. The ingredients are: tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, Persian lime and salt (which will not require cutting or chopping). Additional information on jalapenos, limes and cilantro is provided in the Salsa Verde Instructable. I doubt that anyone needs additional information on tomatoes and onions; if they do, they are not likely to be reading this. I do not use any specific ratio of ingredients in this recipe; I rely more on the color of the total product. In fact, in this case, I ended up using only three of the tomatoes and threw in one additional pepper. I used all of the onion, which was rather small, and about a third of a bunch of cilantro.
Step 2: Taste and Sound
I like to have a leisurely drink and listen to music while I cook, although unlike the tequila step in the Salsa Verde Instructable, the drink in this Instructional is optional. I suppose a Mexican beer would have been more appropriate, but I had just read a newspaper article about NAFTA, and decided it would be nice to add a Canadian beer to this endeavor. And yes, some of it is already gone. That first cold, delicious sip waits for no camera. I find Jimmy Page and the Black Crows Live at the Greek a great background, and pacesetter, for any recipe that requires a lot of chopping.
Step 3: Cut and Chop
It is advisable to remove the seeds from the tomatoes and peppers. I just cut the tomatoes in fourths, scrape out the seeds and discard them. I remove the tops from the jalapenos, cut the jalapenos in fourths and scrape out most, but not all, of the seeds.
When you have done that, using your sharp knife, chop up all the ingredients (except the lime and salt) leaving them all in neat, adorable individual piles. This will not take long. I am pretty good with a cooking knife, and cut and chopped all of this in the time it took Jimmy and the Black Crows to get through Custard Pie . Even the most inexperienced chopper starting at the same point should be able to do all this before the band gets through Sick Again. In any event, resist any urge to do the chopping in a food processor, which would result in the ingredients being chopped either too little or too much, and in either case, ending up too watery.
Cut the lime in half; this can be done before of after the chopping.
At this point I take a look at the ingredients and, as indicated in Step 1, consider the color combinations. I like to have the combined green (cilantro and jalapeno) ingredients to be almost as much as the red (tomato) ingredient, and the white (onion) ingredient to be about as much as one of the green ingredients.
Step 4: Mix It Up and Season to Taste
Put all the chopped ingredients into a glass bowel and mix them together with a spoon. Squeeze in the juice of one of the lime halves, and add salt. Stir it all up again, taste and add any additional lime and salt to suit your taste. You are done, but the Pico is not. It needs to be covered and refrigerated for six or seven hours to allow the flavors to blend. I made this batch around 10:30 or 11:00 am, perhaps, some might think, a bit early for a glass of beer. But it was past noon in Ontario, and that is where the beer was from (courtesy of the NAFTA). And can anyone tell me why the Canadian Maple Leaf is red (as seen here on the label of Labatt Blue, not to mention the Canadian flag) while the Toronto Maple Leaf (which appears on the hockey team's sweater) is blue?
Step 5: Back to the Beginning
The Pico de Gallo that was made at 11:00 am or so will be ready to serve by about 6:30 pm. Serve it with Salsa Verde as shown here (again) or all by itself, with chips and maybe a Mexican beer with that left over lime half and a shot of salt...or an ice cold Margerita (also with lime and salt) on the rocks. If you make Pico de Gallo, you owe it to yourself to enjoy it.