TASTE

How To Make Salsa (Pico De Gallo)

11/03/2011 02:17 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

The vibrant flavor of fresh pico de gallo enhances a wide range of Mexican dishes. Chef Iliana de la Vega of The Culinary Institute of America starts by chopping tomatoes into a small dice, then adding them to a bowl. She then chops and adds a jalapeño (leaving the membrane and seeds intact, as is traditionally done in Mexico). Some diced onion go in next, along with chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, salt and olive oil. With a quick stir, you've got a colorful bowl of salsa.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Iliana de la Vega from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make pico de gallo, or as we call it in Spanish, salsa Mexicana.

To make salsa Mexicana or pico de gallo, we'll need some tomatoes, jalapenos, a little bit of salt, cilantro, lime, onion, and a little bit of olive oil. We'll start with a tomato. Cut it in half, and let's dice it. You want a small dice here, not big chunks. Let's keep slicing this, and now dice across. I'll make a small portion for you for this, like for two people to enjoy a little bit of salsa.

I need a bowl to start putting my ingredients together. Place all your tomatoes here. So we have tomatoes; now I'm going to use just a little bit of onion, An easy way, if you're just going to use a little bit, is you cut some rings, some half rings, off one side, and then go against the grain and dice. So you can dice just a small amount without destroying your whole onion, if you're not going to use the whole thing. I guess this is going to be enough for making your salsa.

Now we grab a jalapeno, cut it in half, take out this part - the stem - and the Mexican way is you leave it with the whole seeds and every single part of it: just take off the stem. Keep dicing. How much chile you want in your salsa, that's up to you, how spicy you want it. I like it a little bit more spicy - but that's me. Okay, there we go.

We have here our cilantro, already chopped. Now let's season the salsa. A little bit of lime juice: remember, lime, not lemons! Sprinkle some of it over the bowl; it gives a kick. The next step is a little bit of olive oil - extra-virgin will do well. And then salt to taste, and then just mix it. This is quite easy; all your ingredients can be chopped ahead of time.

Now your salsa is ready; make sure everything is mixed here. There you go - ready to be enjoyed. This is how we make a salsa Mexicana or pico de gallo.

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