The Freshest Salsa


I’m sure I ate pico de gallo before the mid-1990s. But I always associate it with the Mexican restaurant my husband and I frequented when we were living in Silver Spring, Md. We had bottomless pico and chips to soak up the margaritas while we waited way too long for our enchiladas.

We moved away, and I made my own pico. It’s sort of a no-brainer. This recipe makes about 3 cups.

Salsa Like It’s 1995

2 lbs tomatoes (you can use any tomatoes, but plum tomatoes are the least watery)
1/2 to 3/4 lb white onions
1 or 2 jalapeños or more, depending on how hot you want it
salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
optional: a lime, and a bunch of cilantro

Peel the onions and cut into large chunks. Cut the jalapeños into chunks (remove ribs and seeds to reduce the heat). Slice the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds and cut the halves into a few more chunks.

Put the onions and jalapeños in the food processor and pulse four or five times. Add the tomatoes, cilantro leaves (if using) and salt, and pulse until everything is chopped fine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Adjust the salt. Eat it right away or let the favors meld for a bit.

The classic pico de gallo recipes also calls for lime juice. If you don’t have a fresh lime, it won’t ruin the salsa to leave it out. But if you do have one, it’s better.  Squeeze in the juice from half once you transfer the salsa to the bowl, stir, and taste before you decide whether to add more salt or the juice from the other half of the lime

Bonus: if you seed the tomatoes over a bowl, you can catch the juice and strain it into a glass to drink. You may only get enough for a sip or two. But still.

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