How to Make a Semi-authentic Pico De Gallo to Serve With a Semi-authentic Salsa Verde




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.



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    14 Discussions

    I don't wanna sound like a beer snob or nothin' but please don't think of Labatt's Blue as representative of "Canadian" beer. I prefer to regard it as "Old Man" beer, seeing as most of the people I've ever seen drinking it are old men. It is however, preferable to Molson Canadian, which I regard as "hog-swill". Lately, I've been drinking Sleeman India Pale Ale. I find it dry and refreshing, with lots of hoppy goodness. This isn't a plug or anything, but if the Sleeman folks feel like slinging a case or three in my direction, I wouldn't object. The deal with the Maple Leafs logo: The team was once owned by one Howard Ballard, a man so notoriously tight, he used his own blue blood to dye the embroidery thread used to make the team jerseys. Hence the blue leaf.

    7 replies

    Yo, Pack... i don't know how to say this, but you sound like a beer snob. It would help if you didn't use words like "hog-swill", but you'd still sound like a beer snob.

    Ha ha! Guilty as charged, my good man. Have you tried Canadian or Blue? If one does, then one might find the specific epithet to be applicable.

    Please excuse my Jeeves-ing. In point of fact, I might distinguish myself from a bona fide beer snob, in that I would not refuse a not-so-nice beer, if offered one.
    I merely restrict my actual beer purchases to the higher end brews.

    OK....I'm a big fan of Alexander Keith's (sp?) Pale Ale; I just can't get it here. I've had Sleeman's too, while in in Montreal, and it's very good, or maybe even as good as Keith's; I just can't get it in Texas. If they sling you three cases, send one to me =)

    I've heard Molson's described as moose urine (albeit more in the vernacular) so I've steered clear of it. At least LaBatt's had those neat commercials with the bear who calls that chick from a bar after hibernating. That's got to count for something !

    I think I've heard that Howard Ballard story before, but I sometimes get it confused with LaBatt's and the Blue Bombers, and that other rich guy who built the extremely large house in Toronto (Casa Loma?). Canadian history is so complicated for me....

    So...have you actually tried my instructables?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Well, the authentic Pico uses only jalapeños, but I don't think there is an enforcement agency, so it's OK, or at least safe, to use something else. But not a bell pepper; we need to adhere to some standards. The green Anaheim chili would work well, as would the yellow Hungarian pepper...although it wouldn't look as good. You're right about the tomatoes; we're three or four months away from suitable participants. No matter how your Pico works out, a good brew will make it better.

    Sleeman's pale is even better than Keith's. Unfortunately, Sleeman's has this bizarre marketing strategy where they only sell their very best beer for a limited time, don't promote it in any particular fashion, and only sell it it the Brewer's Retail (now known as The Beer Store) where you have to ask for it. Not sure how I'd send a case of beer though. Wouldn't fit in an envelope and UPS would have a field day with it. (check out United Package Smashers website). I haven't seen the bear commercial. Funny thing about the Ballard story: I just made it up... Probably other people thought it up as well, 'cause the guy really was a cheapo. No, I haven't tried your instructables yet, but they look tasty. Think I might wait till I have more homegrown tomatoes, the grocery store ones just wouldn't do justice to the recipe. Is it O.K. if I use peppers other than jalapeno? I find I don't care for the taste of jalapeno.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    this is a semi-good instructable, and i'm semi-convinced to try these recipes!


    11 years ago on Step 5

    enjoyed your presentation, the sound cues and general ambience. I'm with you on hand-chopping, pace, going by eye-all that. Too many people won't take the time and don't appreciate that hand-cut contributes something indefinable. The napkin was a humorous touch. I can only suggest you consider the under-appreciated salt... This would surely merit an unrefined sea salt, all its minerals intact. Maybe a Celtic stone ground, considering it takes time to meld. There's a world of salt waiting to be explored. The old white shaker, iconic as it is, needs to be resurrected from the dead zone of iodized denatured salt. Salt is a fairly big passion of mine. Good salt that is. There's even a black salt, a pinch of that might be nice:-)

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 5

    Thank you. I like to cook, and buy and use napkins and dish towels in abundance. I use course and un-iodized (if there is such a word) Kosher salt in this and my other dish. The old white shaker is the only type that can handle the course stuff. But you are right; I should have said what it is and why. I use unrefined sea salt WITH tequila. It lies so gently on the thumb.


    11 years ago on Step 4

    Um, if you put it in a glass bowel, it looks like you used too many Jalepeno's!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    que bueno que los mexicanos estan en todo el mundo


    12 years ago on Step 4

    that looks SO good. I love that stuff. I will have to try this sometime!