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Well, it’s Super Bowl Sunday, the national non-holiday so many people wait for after the traditional run of holidays in November and December. Though I am not the biggest sports fan (and didn’t really know who was playing in this year’s Super Bowl until last Friday *gasp*), the viewing parties are usually a fun time for all. In honor of this “holiday”, I thought I would post a simple recipe that goes well with all those chips and crackers most folks will be having, as well as the Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas I posted about last night: my Chunky Pico de Gallo.
As a certified tomato addict, it always amuses me that there are so many people who claim they hate tomatoes yet love tomato products like ketchup, marinara sauce, and salsa. It’s my belief that most people will eat tomatoes in some way, shape, or form. Though this may be a bit closer to an actual tomato than most haters like, I promise this is far better than any jarred salsa you will ever have. No offense to the cooked salsas of the world; I’m just of the opinion that a fresh salsa offers more in the way of flavor and texture. Pico de Gallo is essentially just that: a fresh salsa. The only difference is that the ingredients are chunkier than in a traditional salsa. Fresh tomatoes, crispy onions (I prefer red over white for a good Pico though they both work fine; yellow onions are too strong for this), cool cilantro and tangy lime juice is all chopped and tossed together for bliss in a dip. You could easily go from a Pico de Gallo to a Salsa Fresca in no time with a few more chops of each ingredient and a little more liquid. I find Pico de Gallo a bit more versatile because of its heartier nature – there’s more substance, more texture, so it’s easier to use as a dip, topping, dressing, etc.
Which brings me to my next point: do not think of this as something reserved only for chips! There are many times that I use a good Pico de Gallo to add zesty flavor and texture to salads, rice dishes, quesadillas, soups, you name it. It’s a great variation of the traditional bruschetta, holding up just as nicely on a crusty piece of baguette as its Italian & Mediterranean cousins. And of course, who can resist the perfect food trifecta: cheap, tasty, and good for you? With some keen shopping for a good deal on hearty tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro (subliminal message: hit your farmer’s market), you can easily make a giant bowl that will serve several party guests for about $4. A large jar of Pace Picante sauce could cost you about the same, yield less product, and does not hold up as sturdily on top of a giant, crispy tortilla chip.
And did I mention it’s pretty to look at? 🙂