Recipe: Pico De Gallo

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Pico De Gallo ingredients
Pico De Gallo ingredients

One of the simplest recipes in my cook book and one of the most used; especially in the warmer Summer months when you’ll find me making this at least once per month. Whether it’s as a quick snack for chips, or as a side dish to tacos or a topping for burgers – there’s pretty much no occasion where a little pic won’t hurt.

A few notes about this dish: a sharp knife is essential. You’ll want to dice your Roma tomatoes, green bell pepper and red onion into fairly pieces. The sharper your knife, the easier it will be to dice the tomatoes into smaller chunks. I usually keep my tomatoes in the fridge right until I’m ready to cut them up – that way they’re a little firmer and easy to cut.

For the red onion, I’ve recommended using a quarter here, that’s if you have one of those giant red onions. You might want to use a little more if the onion is closer to medium sized. You don’t want the onion to overpower everything else so go carefully; here’s a picture of the ratio I visually aim for:

Pico De Gallo roma tomato versus red onion ratio
Pico De Gallo roma tomato versus red onion ratio

Heat wise one Jalapeno is typically what I use, I might use two if I feel like a spicier dish. You’ll have to play this by ear, and to your own tastes, every Jalapeno differs slightly in heat. Its a myth that the heat comes from the seeds, it actually comes from the white pith lining the chili. If you want a milder pico, remove the white pith and the seeds to be sure – the seeds gain their heat from being in close contact with the pith. I’ve left the salt, to your own preference, but don’t be shy; the salt is important to balance out the heat and the acid, and ultimately helps break down some of the other ingredients.

Your final creation should look something like this:

Pico De Gallo
Pico De Gallo

I like to make the pico at least a couple hours before I am ready to eat. The longer the ingredients can . From there, I’ll be happy keeping the fresh pico in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It might last a little longer but the aroma will gradually get less fresh and more funky. The salt will also leech more and more water from the vegetables to you’ll have an increasingly watery soup, the longer you leave it.

Another twist on this recipe is to add in the diced fruit from one ripe mango for mango salsa. Sometimes I’ll use the regular pico on day one, and for the next day add in mango, to keep the dish interesting for a second day. Its a flexible recipe you can have a lot of fun with, add a habanero here, a serrano there…

Pico Do Gallo
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Quick, simple and ultra fresh recipe for Pico De Gallo

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1/3 Red Onion
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Finely dice romato tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, stir and sprinkle once more. 

  2. Finely chop 1/4 of a large red onion, maybe a third if smaller. 

  3. Quarter lime, squeeze two quarters over tomato and onions. Stir. Squeeze in remaining two quarters, stir again. 

  4. Finely chop green bell pepper, add to bowl. 


  5. Very finely chop jalapeño (remove seeds and pith for milder pico, add to bowl. 


  6. Grab a handful of cilantro, stalks and leaves. Wash and finely chop into 2 tbsp and sprinkle over bowl. 

  7. Stir thoroughly until all ingredients well integrated. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before serving. 2-4 is better.

Hi I’m Stuart., amateur home cook and professional food writer.  You can find my writing at places like The Salt Lake Tribune and Gastronomic SLC, which I founded more than a decade ago.  As well as writing extensively about restaurants, I’m endlessly curious about that product on the shelf. Is it any good I wonder? If you’re like me, wonder no more.

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