I'm a long time instructable reader first time poster. I am a Design Technology teacher and one of my main responsibilities is teaching design thinking. For those unfamiliar, design thinking is at its most basic form, the idea of systematically solving a problem. Well the problem I have looked to solve for the last 10 years is creating the best pico de gallo salsa, an idea I had after having some truly delicious pico de gallo at a small restaurant outside of Chicago. I will identify the common problems I had with making the salsa, and share my solutions for those problems. Of course through the process I came across lots of great resources, blogs, recipes, forums, a few rick bayless shows, etc. Between them all and constant trial and error I believe I have, at least in my opinion, the best pico de gallo.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
The best part about Pico de gallo is its simplicity. There are only 7 total ingredients in this recipe, as listed below.
(All amounts can be adjusted to taste, here is a rough estimate of this latest batch)
1. Plum or Roma tomatoes: In this recipe I will use 4.
2. Green onions, (Mexican cebollitas): these are the large bulb green onions, we will utilize just the bulbs for this. (about 4 larger ones)
3. Cilantro: 1 Bunch for this recipe.
4. Serrano Chilies: You could use jalapeno, but I tend to like Serrano better. I used 3 in this recipe.
5. Mexican Oregano: Regular oregano is not recommended for this recipe. Ill use maybe a teaspoon.
6. Avocado or olive oil: I used about 3 teaspoons.
7. Salt: To taste I used 1-2 teaspoons.
Make sure to wash all vegetables thoroughly!
Step 2: Chop Tomatoes
Problem 1: Pico de Gallo that gets slimy, or tastes overly tomatoey.
Solution: Plum tomatoes (also known as Roma tomatoes), I chose these because they are meatier on the inside with less of the jelly and seeds. I then cut them in half and take a spoon to scoop out the jelly and seeds. If the spoon is to big flip it over and utilize the back end of it.
Once that is removed roughly dice the tomatoes and add them to a bowl.
Step 3: Chop the Onions
Problem 2: Pico de gallo is overly oniony no matter how little onion is used. The smell of it permeates throughout and becomes unappetizing.
Solution: Most Pico de gallo recipes use white onion, however, white onion is too strong for pico de gallo. I replaced it with green onion, which has a great onion taste, good bite, but is much milder in smell.
We will roughly dice the onion bulbs up and add them to the tomatoes.
Step 4: Chop Up the Serranos
Problem: Pico de Gallo isn't spicy, or it's too spicy without any real taste.
Solution: I found Serranos to be the best peppers for this recipe. Serranos being smaller chop up nicer with less water in them that escapes when added to the salt, this gives a good even heat that becomes addicting. I remove the seeds and veins before chopping them. I used 3 in this recipe, which makes it pretty spicy, however you can add more or less as needed, but I'd be careful not to over do it, you can always add more later.
Add this to the tomatoes and onion.
Tip: wear gloves, or wash your hands after chopping the serranos, to remove the oils that will make your fingers burn.
Step 5: Cilantro
No real problem here, almost all pico de gallo recipes has cilantro in it.
I rip the tops off of the cilantro, removing most of the stems, ball up the cilantro and finely chop it the best I can. This will give off the aroma and allow the flavors to mix better.
Step 6: Add Salt
I added a little over a teaspoon of salt to this for the recipe, if after tasting you think this is too little you can always add more, but salt is really the vehicle that makes the flavors in this come to life. I used sea salt because I like the flavor better than an iodized table salt.
Step 7: Add Oil
Oil is not something often used in Pico de gallo, but I think it adds a subtle richness to the salsa that is hard to pinpoint, but is noticeable when missing. I used about 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of avocado oil. Olive oil works well also.
Step 8: The Secret Is in the Mexican Oregano!
Problem: It's good, but not great
It took me a long time to get to this point and I was fairly happy with how the pico de gallo was tasting, but it still was missing something that I could not put my finger on. Enter Mexican Oregano. According to a Rick Bayless show I saw, Mexican Oregano is not really related to the oregano you find in many Mediterranean dishes. When the spanish came to mexico they started calling lots of the things they found after stuff they had back in Europe. You can find mexican oregano in most grocery stores. If you can't find it, Amazon has many options.
When I added this to the pico de gallo it was a game changer, it adds such a depth of flavor that just makes everything come to life. I use about 1-2 teaspoons, I pinch it between 2 fingers breaking it down into a powder and sprinkling it throughout the salsa.
Step 9: Not So Fast!
Problem: The pico de gallo still taste kind of .... eh...
Solution: Wait! It takes a while for all of the flavors to blend and for the salt to pull everything together. I give the salsa a good mix to make sure all the components are evenly distributed, then put it in the refrigerator (covered) overnight. The next day the salsa is significantly better. I grab some chips from a local tortilleria. If that is unavailable try to get some that aren't overly salty, as many of the big brand ones tend to be. The pico is also great on tacos, etc.
Thanks for checking out my first instructable, hopefully there will be more to come! Thanks in advance for any votes :)
Participated in the
Side Dishes Challenge