Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cooking With Stu: Pico de Gallo

I'm gonna drop a bunch of Mexican recipes on you guys here over the next week or so. But we'll have to start with the basics before we can do the fancy stuff. Pico de gallo is an all-purpose dressing for Mexican food; it's glorious if done right, and it goes on pretty much all the stuff I'll be making.

It's also the easiest goddamn thing ever, so I'm gonna be dropping some more generalized cooking knowledge on you all in the process, to fill space. So here we go.


From back to front, left to right: onions (white onions are preferred, but any will do), lemon juice, lime juice, salt, fresh cilantro (dried cilantro is gross and bad and if you have it, you should feel bad), tomatoes (any kind will work), and jalapeño peppers (not pickled, but fresh and intact).


Dice them, and put them in some kind of container. I'm using a leftover feta cheese container and one of those reusable Gladware tubs, because why would you buy containers when companies give them to you when you buy their food? Wash that stuff and reuse it.

Same goes with glasses. In this house, we drink out of old glass jars we saved and cleaned. I mean, I had a nice set of glassware once, but they all got broke in the process of having roomies. No biggie... we just stopped throwing out salsa jars and jelly jars and we're good now.


Okay, there's a trick to this. Not the crying; that's gonna happen pretty much no matter what.

But I mean to the cutting, to make it come out perfectly. Pretend your onion is a globe. Turn one of the poles towards you, and cut it from pole to pole, like I did in the first pic to the left. You have two halves now.

Now, if it's a globe, cut some longitude lines. If you're cutting onion strips, you can stop here, and in a lot of recipes I'm gonna post, you will be. If you're confused by what I'm saying, just look at the pic in the middle. You'll have to cut at an angle, but honestly if you practice it a bit you'll get used to it, and it's a much more even cut all-around.

But we want our onions finely diced. So then cut across all those onion strips, and you get diced onions. Throw them in the same tub you put the diced tomatoes in.


Usually when you buy vegetables at a grocery store, you put them in a plastic bag. Yeah, keep those. Jalapeños will burn your hands, and if you then rub your eyes like a dumbass (I did this once) you'll have to have your girlfriend pouring cold water over your face in the bathtub while you cry about how all them fancy book learnin's never taught you not to put jalapeño juice in your eyes.

Anyway, once the bags are on your hands, just dice the jalapeños like you did everything else, and add them to the tub.


Chop this stuff and put it in the tub. You can adjust this to taste. I, like most Americans, love me some cilantro in my Mexican food. However, apparently Mexicans themselves generally don't go overboard with it, at least to hear my friend Poe Ballantine tell it. Whichever you prefer, though, do that.


Literally that easy. Sea salt is the best to use. I didn't have any on hand, but I went out and bought some since I made this. Normal salt will work okay too. I generally don't add salt to stuff; it's bad for your health in high amounts, but it does need some.

After the salt, throw in equal parts lemon and lime juice. If you don't have one, you can just use the other and it'll be okay. You want to have a small citrusy pool at the bottom, but you don't want to drown it.

Some people put black pepper in their pico de gallo. Do not be one of these people. If you want it spicier, just use more jalapeños.

After that, just stir this noise, put the lid on and refrigerate it until you need it. You can put it on tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas, or just eat it straight up with tortilla chips.

If you wanna post this on message boards or the like, I made this into an infographic for that express purpose.

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