Chips and salsa really should be their own food group. They are the perfect snack. Salty, crunchy chips dipped in tangy chunks of tomato and onion with the heat of jalapeño and the brightness of fresh cilantro. I’m getting a craving just typing this description. Whether you like your salsa tame or scorching hot, you can probably agree that fresh pico de gallo salsa is delicious.
Pico de gallo is Spanish for the beak of the rooster. There are several speculations as to where the name came from ranging from the idea that the serrano pepper, sometimes used in place of the jalapeño, resembled the rooster’s beak to the idea that the name came from the way people ate it by grabbing chunks by pinching their finger and thumb together. Regardless, it has come to refer to an uncooked sauce comprising of chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chiles, lime juice, and salt. It is also called salsa fresca or salsa cruda. These ingredients are standard in every pico de gallo recipe as is the texture—chopped rather than blended, distinct chunks not pureed, and never cooked.
The healthy list of ingredients makes it a great condiment for any diet. The added benefit of making it yourself allows you to customized the spice level by removing the seeds and membrane of the jalapeño, (which is where most of the heat comes from) leaving the flesh of the chile which gives the salsa a fruity heat.
How to remove the seeds and membrane from a jalapeno
- The oils of chiles can irritate the skin and burn the eyes. Wear gloves to protect yourself. Cut the jalapeño in half lengthwise.
- Using the tip of a paring knife, cut out the white (or pale green) structure which holds the seeds to the bright green wall of the jalapeño.
- Discard the membrane and press the jalapeño half firmly down on the cutting surface, skin side facing up, to flatten it.
- Cut the chile into long thin strips, then turn the strips and cut across them to create a small dice.
- Repeat with the other half.
For a little heat, try only removing the seeds and membrane from one side of the jalapeño. Those people who don’t care for cilantro can reduce the amount and even substitute fresh parley if desired.
As the pico sits, liquid from the tomatoes will accumulate at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t throw this out, rather crush a small handful of tortilla chips into large crumbs and stir it into the liquid. Then enjoy this salsa soup with a spoon.Print
The bold, bright flavors of a simple fresh salsa. With an easy to remember hint of how to make the perfect balance of ingredients.
- 1 sweet onion, diced (or red onion) (1 cup)
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced (2–3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, minced (1/2 cup)
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1–1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 6–8 Roma tomatoes, diced (1–1/2 – 2 cups)
- Peel and dice onion, dice jalapeño (or seed and remove membrane before mincing to reduce the heat of the salsa). Wash and remove the long stems from the cilantro, then mince.
- Zest and then juice the lime and add to the onion, jalapeño and cilantro mixture. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Dice 6 of the Roma tomatoes and stir into the salsa. (The mixture should have the color balance of the Mexican flag, with red, white, and green all clearly visible.) Add the remaining tomatoes as needed for the spiciness you desire.
- Let flavors mingle for 5 minutes and serve.
If using beefteak tomatoes instead of roma tomatoes, remove the seeds or the salsa will be too watery.
- Serving Size: 1/3 cup
Keywords: fresh salsa, pico de gallo