The backbone of this recipe is fresh ingredients because without freshness the rest of the dish won’t shine. Making this salsa is a lot of fun since you can continually practice your knife skills and try out new slicing techniques. You will want to make sure you have a sharp knife that will let you slice your tomatoes like butter. Remember, no one likes squished tomatoes in their pico. This recipe makes enough pico for about 4 - 6 people.
What to Gather:
- 5 medium firm but ripe tomatoes
- Half of a red onion (or a whole if you like it more oniony)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Handful of cilantro (more or less depending on your preference)
- 1 lime
- 1 jalapeño (use 2 if you like spice)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons of cumin
- 1-2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of Chile powder
- Adjust all amounts to taste
- Sharp knife
- Medium to large cutting board
- Medium to large mixing bowl
- Kitchen Scraper
If you are more comfortable with preparations then check out the Quick Guide. Otherwise, if you would like to read more of a blog style guide, check out the Detailed Guide.
As always before we start cooking we need to wash our vegetables. Give each item a rinse under cold water, removing any stickers and set aside. I like to place the washed veggies in another bowl or on a towel.
- Dice tomatoes up into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl.
- Peel and finely dice the onion and add to the bowl.
- Sprinkle in a dash of salt, give it a quick mix.
- Roll the lime on the kitchen counter to ready the juices. Slice into 4 pieces.
- Squeeze 1 quarter of lime into the tomato/onions. Gently mix.
- Smash and remove the skins of the garlic, finely dice and add to the bow.
- Dice up the jalapeños and add to the bowl. Caution to remove any seeds.
- Grab the cilantro and chop off the stems. Finely dice the leaves and add to the bowl.
- Mix everything up.
- Add the juice of 2 more lime quarters, saving the final quarter for any adjustments.
- Add the lower end of spice measurements.
- Adjust spice and lime to taste.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Lay your cutting board out on the counter and set your bowl up either in front or next to you. Make sure you have room to chop comfortably.
Start with the tomatoes, remove the top of the tomatoes and dice into the 1/4 inch pieces. They don’t have to be precise. It helps to do this one tomato at a time as to not crowd your cutting board. Using your kitchen scraper, scrape up the diced tomato along with their juices into your bowl.
Once you have all the tomatoes chopped, give them two punches of salt to help bring out their juices.
If your board is looking extra juicy, take it to the sink and give it spray. Wipe dry with your towel and let’s move onto the onion.
It’s easier to peel an onion once it is cut in half. If you are using a whole red onion slice it in half using your knife, then slice off each edge. Next peel off the skin and the first layer, compost or discard.
The beauty of making salsa is that you can make your onions as big or as small as you want. I go for a fine dice to make sure my bites are full of texture. You’ll get more accustomed to dice sizes the more you cook.
Take the half and slice lengthwise into half circles, then turn and dice into pieces. Scrape into bowl. If using a whole onion, do the same for the other half.
At this point, it is time for some lime! Roll the lime against the counter with some pressure for a moment. This helps loosen up the juices! Slice the lime in half, then again. You should have 4 pieces. Take one piece and squeeze it all over the top of the tomatoes and onions. Grab your spoon and mix it up, gently.
Next, let’s add some garlic to the mix. Take your garlic cloves and cut off the tough ends. Then using either your knife or kitchen scraper, smash not pulverize each clove. Peel off the skins and roughly dice. Add to bowl, give it a little mix and onto the spice.
If you like seeds in your salsa go ahead and dice up one or two jalapeños and add to bowl. However, if you are not a fan of them, then you will want to remove the skins. Slicing up peppers usually results in seeds galore, but not with my technique. This will require some practice but it is a sweet trick. Slice off the tip of your jalapeño to give a good base. Stand your pepper upright, starting from the top, slice down and follow the curve. Kind of like peeling an orange or apple. Make sure to not slice too close to the center as you’ll get totally seeded. You may still end up with some seeds but those are easy to remove. Do this until you have all the pepper flesh and a nice center core of seeds. Discard or compost the core.
Finely dice up the jalapeños and add to the bowl. Give it a quick mix.
Grab your cilantro and chop off the stems. Some stem is okay but too much gets in the way. Discard or compost the stems. Dice the cilantro leaves up into fine pieces, you may need to use your scraper to combine the leaves as you chop em up. Scrape up and add to the bowl. Take two-quarters of lime and squeeze over everything, save that last quarter as you may want to adjust the lime level after chilling.
Starting with the lower end of the spice measurements, add them to the bowl. Mix everything up nicely and give it a taste. I recommend to break out the chips and try it. Adjust spices as needed, remember though that while the salsa is chilling the spices will infuse further. Always okay to wait and add more later.
Once it’s tasting delicious, cover the top in plastic wrap and chill for at least an 30 minutes. When you are ready to serve it, remove from the fridge 30 minutes beforehand to allow the salsa to warm to room temperature-ish. Enjoy with chips, eggs, enchiladas, tacos or really just about anything!
That’s all for now, and remember that Dad Bods Cook!