Can something made from 6 humble ingredients inspire you? In the case of pico de gallo, it can and should. Fast, simple, colorful and flavorful, this proto-salsa is often overlooked as simply another condiment, but it is so much more than that.
For starters, it’s an exceptional addition to any cook’s arsenal because you can serve it to anyone. Pico de gallo is fat-free, gluten free, vegan, raw food, lactose-free and dairy free. It has no nuts, sweeteners or artificial anything. Short of allergies to citric acid or peppers, this dish runs the gamut for allergy friendly foods, which makes me a very happy boy indeed.
Secondly, While pico de gallo is often relegated to the land of condiments, it has the potential to be much, much more. Sure, you can scoop it on your favorite chips and call it good, but it can also be used as an ingredient all on it’s own, as the base for more complex recipes or as a component in a more complex dish.
Pico de gallo is versatile. For that reason alone it’s exciting. I think of pico de gallo in much the same way I think of Mirepoix in French cuisine or the Trinity in Creole cooking. Sure, all by itself it’s amazing, but when another recipe is built on it, it’s sublime.
This post launches a short series of recipes based on the humble pico de gallo, starting with my go-to recipe for this South of the border classic. Our recipe is a bit on the timid since as far as heat is concerned, but that goes back to food allergies. (My wife has an allergy to capsicum, so I shy away from jalapeños in favor of the equally tasty, but less intense, Anaheim pepper.)
Do you have a go-to recipe for friends with dietary restrictions? Do you live with someone who has a modified diet? What changes do you make to your favorite dishes to accommodate these needs? We’d love to hear how you’ve overcome the challenge of serving for a restricted diet.
- 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
- 5 ripe plum, Roma, or vine tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 Anaheim chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- The Juice of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a medium glass, plastic, wood or stainless steel bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
This recipe, like all of it’s kind, is a guideline. If you like it hotter, use jalapeño peppers or Serrano chilies. If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, omit it or use a more neutral herb like parsley. The variations are endless.
Links to other recipes like this:
- Pico de Gallo, from Lisa Fain, a.k.a. The Homesick Texan
- Fresh Tomato Salsa, from Elise at Simply Recipes
- Pico de Gallo, from One Perfect Bite