If I had my way, it’d be the way of the West. The real West… where the sun really sets.
The Pacific has always had power over my palette. Early on I took on taquerias and tequilas and hunted down horchata-serving hole-in-the-walls where I drank salsas (you’ve seen me do this) and only ordered things with double ll’s because I liked the way the waiter sounded back: rellenos, tomatillo, pico de gallo.
Now, I’m landlocked, yet seeking the soulful, belly-full spirits of California-Mexican culture. Nothing feeds my fresh-mex mood like a heaping bowl of hand-made pico de gallo (pee ko day guy yo).
Pico de gallo (translation: rooster’s beak) was so named because it was–and still is in my home–eaten by pinching garden pieces between the thumb and forefinger, a nonchalant eating style true to my feeding-frenzy family I so dearly miss.
The too-easy tomato ensemble plays the star sauce in kick-back taco night and makes cameo appearances to sophisticate more complex dishes by modeling chunky kaleidoscope flavor. When wrestled with cooling cilantro, tomatoes take on a peaceful persona, and when paired with pineapple, pico de gallo is a Pacific poem full of palm tree palapas. And with a finish of lime’s bite, pico de gallo can cut through and enliven fatty dishes like carnitas, arrachera or a simple cheese enchilada.
Quickly made and devoured even quicker, pico de gallo is a too-good-to-be-true topping that truly is good for you. Dig in.