Pico de Gallo- Not Just a Basic Salsa

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo might seem like something way too simple to put as my first blog entry, but I had a major revelation about the Mexican mixture over the holidays.  At Tacos Rossy in San Jose del Cabo, renowned for being the best fish taco joint in all of Baja, I had a pico de gallo that was so good that it overturned any preconceived notions of pico that I had ever had.  I thought it was strange, as I have had pico de gallo in every Mexican restaurant since I was little.  It always seemed to just be this “salsa” without anything special about it.  But the “Salsa Mexicana” at Rossy was somehow different.  It was very dry, with little juice left over to sog up the taco.  It also had a good proportion of chile and onion to tomato. Pico de gallo was no longer that “salsa” I take for granted with greasy tortilla chips, but an actual combination that takes a little bit of thought, and that can transform a dish by its balance of acidity and heat.  I found myself wanting pico de gallo all the time, on whatever we were going to eat.

Yesterday I was able to finally calm my craving. I made some pico de gallo to botanear (eating appetizers) before lunch.  I used three tomatoes, a little less than ½ of a white onion, and about ¾ of a jalapeño pepper. I chopped up the tomatoes and onions in a small dice about the same size, and minced the jalapeño as small as I could.  Then I added a lot of salt.  You need a lot of salt in a good pico to really perk up the tomatoes and make it acidic.  I also used the juice of two limes.  It was gorgeous.  We ate it up so quickly with these baked tostadas made of 60% nopal and 40% corn we found at the Superama yesterday.

I don’t want to give anyone a recipe for this, because you really have to go by what looks good in the bowl, in terms of proportion of tomatoes, onions, and chile.  Then you have to measure by taste the amount of salt and lime juice.  There are no recipes for that balance, only intuition and personal satisfaction!



  1. limeandlemon · January 22, 2009

    i love mexican food .. looks delicious .. Laila .. http://limeandlemon.wordpress.com/

  2. Dale Carson · January 24, 2009

    Pico De Gallo is, indeed, delicious. However, I
    need to put just about a tablespoon of cilantro
    in it, more depending on amount, for it to have
    that “pizzaz”!

  3. Ria · January 24, 2009

    Looks delicioso – but question – what do you think about Dale’s cilantro comment? Do you not like it better with cilantro or is it inauthentic in some way?

  4. Teresa Westall · January 25, 2009

    Sophia, I’m glad you published the two salsas, they are a must on every table, whether you are serving Mexican or not. Congratulations!

  5. sophiacooksmexican · January 25, 2009

    Hi Dale and Ria, I think that cilantro is a matter of personal taste. I would enjoy it in the pico de gallo if it were there, but I love the taste without it. The onion, tomato and jalapeno work together so well in this simple combination. . . rather than cilantro, I focus the attention on how much salt I add. The salt is what really brings out the tomato.

  6. Noemi Fontao · February 18, 2009

    Muy buenos ingredientes, aqui en mi pais, Argentina lo llamamos “ensalada” y condimentamos con oregano en vez de cilantro y queda muy bien!

    • sophiacooksmexican · February 23, 2009

      Me muero por ir a Argentina. Que rico que usan oregano en vez de cilantro. . . interesante!

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