Mexican Salsa ~ Salsa Fresca ~ Pico de Gallo

>> Sunday, July 5, 2009

Salsa means sauce in Spanish. Mexico is a very diverse country in which the many regions yield a big variety of dishes and salsas. Every family has their favorite recipes,their favorite type of salsas they like most, but one thing is for sure; in Mexican homes you will always find some sort of salsa on the table. It may be based mostly on chiles/ chilies dried or fresh( the choice of peppers alone is mind blowing), with our without tomatoes, fresh or the bottled kind, spicy or mild, used for botanas (appetizer), to top your tacos, or cooked with meats, the choices are many. Salsa is also a foundation for many dishes which can make something that is ordinary and bland and transform it to something that arouses your senses and tickles your taste buds. When cooking certain dishes, like a good mole, it is not uncommon to spend nearly all of the preparation time on getting the salsa just right. A good salsa doesn't have to be the spiciest thing you've ever eaten, and it definitely should not overpower your dish. It brings all your ingredients together and makes for a very happy dinning experience.

Being far from home I don't have access to all of those wonderful and vast variety of chiles, (Oh how I miss my Mom's salsa quemada, salsa verde, and mole.) But I still try to make salsas with the local ingredients and left over care package. The one I make most often is my Pico de Gallo*~Mexican Salsa~Salsa Fresca or Salsa bandera, what ever name you may now it by it's all the same burst of flavors that your taste buds will love. It's a fabulous thing to eat on a hot summer day with corn chips or to top your tacos, sopes, gorditas or burritos. The most important thing that you need is to have the freshest ingredients possible

Your ingredients:
4 medium ripe red tomatoes
1/2 medium onion
1 lemon or 1 lime
1 big handful of chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder optional)
1 hot pepper (fresh jalapeno-serrano-I'm using a Dutch/Holland red pepper)
or 1 teaspoon of cayenne/ hot chili powder

You'll need a big bowl to combine your ingredients.
1.First you need to finely chop your onions,cilantro ,peppers and tomatoes. This is a really fast way to finely chop the onion and tomato, slice from top to bottom - going almost all the way through, then slice from side to side and finally turn it on its side and just slice.
3. After you have all your veggies finely chopped, squeeze in the lemon juice and mix. Then start adding your spices and keep stirring to mix all those yummy flavors. You can taste it to see if it needs any more salt.
That's all, you can let it sit for some minutes to let all the flavors combine or you can serve right away with corn chips or as a topping. The taste should be very fresh with a slight tanginess from the lemon and not be overpowered by spiciness, you should be able to taste all the ingredients complimenting each other.
If you don't eat spicy you can still enjoy this salsa, simply omit the pepper or chili powder, it doesn't hurt the salsa it's still mouth watering, ( in fact my mouth is watering now ). Gotta go make some more.
* pico de gallo can also be made with fruits instead *


Frank May 4, 2010 at 10:40 PM  

Love pico de gallo and this looks divine! Always make it with lime but when I was living in Italy it was hard to find...Now I can find limes no problem but the tomatoes aren't always very tasty... Sigh!

Spicie Foodie May 6, 2010 at 8:28 AM  

Hi Frank, Thank you :) I have the same problem, sometimes just have to do with the ingredients at hand. Specially when the cravings are strong,

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