Today, I want to share with you my recipes for fresh salsa (pico de gallo) and guacamole. Yes, I know that salsa and guacamole and hardly rare recipes, but they are such wonderfully fresh and healthy alternatives to dips loaded with saturated fats. I do a few things differently with my versions of these recipes, and when my Hispanic friends and family members crowd into the kitchen to see how this silly white girl makes such amazing Mexican food, I think it’s reasonable to say these are a must-have in your recipe box!
First lets start with the salsa. I’m going to tell you how I make it. I recommend trying it my way the first time, then experimenting with the ratios of ingredients to suit your own tastes. Here’s all the ingredients you’ll need. Is your mouth watering yet? It should be!
Get ripe, yet still firm, red Roma tomatoes. You hear that? ROMA tomatoes. Yes, the variety of tomatoes matters. Wash them, slice them in half and remove the core, seeds and that icky jelly stuff. Then dice and set aside.
Red Onions are up next. Again, the variety matters. Don’t use yellow, white or brown onions. They do not taste the same. These add gorgeous color and flavor to the mix. They can vary in size, so finely dice about 1/4 cup and set aside. Then chop your cilantro. This is the parsley of Mexican cooking. Rinse and chop lots of it because what you don’t use in your salsa can be sprinkled on the food you prepare. Mince your garlic next, 2 cloves. Don’t use that junk from the jar. With all these wonderful fresh ingredients going on here, do you really want to add jarred stuff to it? I didn’t think so. You deserve better. Serrano chilies add some heat. They look a lot like jalapenos, but they are skinnier in shape. If you cant do any spice, remove the seeds and ribs. If you like flavor AND spice, leave them in and chop one up.
Now it’s time for the citrus. You should already have plenty of these on hand from making margaritas with me, so get out an orange and a lime. Yes, I said lime, not lemon. Just trust me on this, okay? Squeeze the juice a half of a lime and 1/4 of an orange and add to your salsa.
Next add a twist of salt. We do not have pinches of salt in our house, as we keep a grinder filled with sea salt. So a twist of salt is just that, a twist of the grinder. Now toss all your ingredients gently and you have the best and freshest salsa you’ve ever eaten.
If you are in a time crunch or just don’t like chopping by hand, this can easily be made in your food processor. I have the Cuisinart 14-cup food processor which does the job quickly and can be used for large quantities too, which is nice. If using this method, the the ingredients go in with the reverse order (except the citrus and salt is still last): garlic and serrano go into food processor until finely chopped, then cilantro and some onion, pulse a few times until chopped almost the size you are after. Next are the tomatoes (seeds and jelly removed) and PULSE till tomatoes are nicely chopped. This is the spot that can ruin it if you over process. You do not want a pureed mixture of mush. Keep the tomatoes chunky! Sprinkle with salt, toss with citrus juices and serve. I made some in the food processor just so you can see the difference appearance-wise.
Now comes the really, really painstaking part. Are you ready? I’m kidding, of course. The only reason I’m telling you how to make guacamole is because you already make it, minus the avocado. So just cube a few avocados and scoop into a bowl.
Gently fold into avocado and you’re ready to serve. If you like yours more mashed, feel free to mash while mixing. I prefer mine chunky, which just makes less work for me. How’s that for a 2-for-1 recipe? Make the salsa and the guacamole makes itself.
I’d love to rave to you some more about how awesome this tastes. I could go on and on, but it takes at least one hand to type and I’m too busy shoveling all this fresh goodness into my mouth with tortilla chips. I’m hungry, so it takes two hands. Make some for yourself and you’ll see.
Pico de Gallo Salsa
4 Roma tomatoes, large, seeded and diced
¼ C diced red onion
¼ C cilantro leaves (measured after rinsing and chopping)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chili, minced (remove ribs and seeds if you don’t like spicy)
juice of ½ lime
juice of ¼ orange
sprinkling of salt
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, serve with chips or as a topping for any Mexican dish.
Cubed and scoop 3 avocados into bowl. Add 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of pico de gallo and toss gently. If you prefer a less chunky guacamole, mash with fork when mixing.