Monday, September 13, 2010

Pico de gallo

I emailed my friend T-Rae and mentioned to her that I had a hankering for cooking up some goodies so those were my weekend plans. She suggested we get together and cook up a menu of yum-ness. She wanted to make a black bean soup so I suggested some carnitas and white cheese dip to accompany the meal. I took on making the pico de gallo to go along with the carnitas. I checked one of my favorite websites Allrecipes to look for a recipe and came across this one. Since the recipe's serving size was for 25 I halved the recipe, I used white onion because that's what I had and didn't use any black pepper. Other reviewers suggested using red wine vinegar and less oil than the recipe called for so I did that as well. I started with one bowl and kept adding the ingredients and stirring as I prepared the recipe.

I only needed 1 tablespoon of lime juice which one lime provided. One tip to remember when needing to getting citrus juice is before cutting into the fruit you'll want to roll it around to prep the fruit so you get the most juice possible. I typically roll it and press hard with the heel of my palm. For the one cup of cilantro, after rinsing, I roughly chopped about half of a bunch. You don't want to chop the cilantro too small. On a side note, I LOVE cilantro and never omit it from any recipe I'm making if I can help it. I was ready to kick myself because I was supposed to bring the remaining cilantro for the black bean soup and TOTALLY forgot it. I love cilantro so much that whenever I buy some fresh cilantro, I can't help but give it a big whiff!

Next go ahead and dice the onions and tomatoes. You'll want to dice both a similar size. The recipe says 1/4 of an inch but of course I didn't measure. I just eyeballed what I figured would be a good size and it worked beautifully. Since I was using Roma tomatoes, I sliced either end off, then sliced the tomato into thick slices, cut into three or four strips, then rotated and cut three or four more times across to create the dice.

Once the onions and tomatoes are diced I added them to the lime juice and cilantro. I saved the jalapeno for last. This was my first time working with a jalapeno. I decided to err on the side of wussy and used plastic gloves. I constantly touch my face and eyes and I just KNOW I would have ended with burning eyes if I didn't protect my hands. T-Rae shared with me that she likes to walk on the wild side and goes glove-free when using jalapenos AND she happened to mention that citrus juice worked beautifully in removing the jalapeno juices. I lopped off the top and bottom tip of the jalapeno and then made a slice lengthwise to open the jalapeno into one flat piece. I removed the white membrane and all of the seeds, sliced into strips and then minced the strips. Once the jalapeno was minced, I ran my knife through again to make it a fine mince. The photo below shows the result before the final knife run that resulted in a fine mince.

After adding the finely minced jalapeno to the mixture, I finely mince and add about 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar and l/8 or so of a cup of vegetable oil. I added a tablespoon of salt which kind of scared me! It just seemed like a lot and this is coming from a salt-lover. No worries though, it was definitely no where near salty much less too salty. I added 1 teaspoon of cumin which wasn't a part of the original recipe and thoroughly stirred the mixture to make sure the spices were evenly distributed. The end result was BEAUTIFUL! The below picture was right after I finished making it. Of course you'll want to make it a couple of hours before you plan to eat it because that gives the flavors time to really meld. After a few hours the mixture created much more liquid.

This was not only super pretty but the PERFECT accompaniment to the carnitas and really the possibilities are endless for this pico de gallo. I think though next time I make it, I'm going to omit the oil completely and see how that goes.


6-7 Roma tomatoes
1/2 white onion
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1 jalepeno
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
less than 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (or omit completely!)

1 tbsp of salt
1 tsp cumin

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