Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pico de Gallo recipe

We recently returned from a missions trip to Mazatlan, Mexico. Love, love, love the food there! So fresh and real. Having been away from California for so long, I miss the real deal.

We were blessed to work together with some local ladies in one of the church kitchens, and they helped us make some pico de gallo, Mazatlan style. It is so simple!

Of course, we were making an insanely large amount for our mobile kitchen, so last week I experimented at home with a more manageable amount. Here is the recipe:

6 very firm but ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion
4 serrano peppers
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 limes

Basically, you just dice the vegetables, mix, and serve, but I *did* learn some tricks to make it just right. The first trick concerns the tomatoes - there is a *right* way to dice them if you don't want a watery, mushy salsa. You must use a very, very sharp knife, and be careful while cutting not to squash the tomatoes, but you still want a very small dice. The way that works for me is to cut each tomato in half lengthwise, then lay on board cut side down. Take your sharp knife and cut into 2-3 slices by cutting parallel to the board - like you would slice a bagel. Then slice into strips lengthwise, and finally dice the strips. You may need to sharpen your knife, as this only works well with a VERY sharp knife.

Also, wash your cilantro well, but also dry very well before dicing. Water on your cilantro will mean watery sauce.

The limes should be welled rolled before cutting to release the juice, then squeezed well. A hand held juicer works best for this.

Finally, the peppers - I never did find out the name of the variety of pepper we used in Mexico. It was shaped like a large jalapeno, but it was incredibly hot - hot enough to wear gloves just to handle them. The serranos here work OK, but next time I am going to experiment with habaneros. With any pepper, be sure to mince them very, very small. It is no fun getting a big piece of hot pepper in a bite.

Anyway, this sauce should last about a week if kept in a sealed container and refrigerated. It is really, really delicious!

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