Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pico de Gallo

When I first posted the recipe for guacamole, it was not for celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday.  But then I thought, why not?  Quite a number of Mexican (or Tex-Mex) recipes can be made without the mishegoss of major juggling and substituting in order to create a kosher recipe.  Not all the meat recipes are pork, and not all the meat recipes include dairy.

The important thing is that many of the recipes are dairy, so they can be used for Shavout! (Bet you were wondering when I'd get around to the next Jewish holiday).  Woo-hoo! Something else besides Blintz Souffle!  Hey, don't worry, Shavout is two weeks after Cinco de Mayo, plenty of time to post my favorite Blintz Souffle recipe. :-D  This recipe is parve, tho.  I'll post a few dairy Mexican (or Tex-Mex) recipes in the next few days.

Many people think that pico de gallo and salsa are the same, especially since, if you compare their ingredients, they appear almost identical.  The main difference is that salsa is cooked, while pico de gallo is simply mixed together and served uncooked.  Note -- to keep the preceding explanation simple, ignore any uncooked salsa recipe you've ever seen, 'k?

 If you don't have fresh tomatoes, use a 15 or so ounce can of diced tomatoes.  It won't be as good, but it will still be tasty.  Do not, however, I repeat, DO NOT use dried cilantro!  The only thing it will add to the finished product is a little green coloring, but with less flavor than tissue paper.  I'd rather you leave it out than use it now and kvetch later about the tissue flakes.

I hate bottled lime juice, because it doesn't have the brightness of fresh, especially in a recipe that involves no-cooking, but I'll look the other way.  Just this time, buster!

A little bit of salt is necessary to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes, so if you are on a salt-restricted diet and won't die if a little is used, use a little.

Avoid metal bowls when working with tomatoes.  They will pick up the metallic taste.

I hope that my friend, the one that wants recipes with only 5 ingredients or less will try this recipe anyway.  Since there's no cooking involved, maybe she'll forgive me.

Pico de Gallo
 Makes about 2 cups
 
1 lb ripe tomatoes, finely diced (with juice)
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced (and seeded if you have a few extra seconds) (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 green chiles (from a can), very finely diced  (omit if you are allergic to heat)
1-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. minced bottled garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

In medium, non-metallic bowl, gently stir all ingredients together. Add more salt, if desired. Refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes before serving to let flavors "marry."

Serve cold with tortilla chips.

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