A very fortunate thing happened to Charlotte Fresh the other day. A generous farmer friend gave me a very large box of bruised tomatoes that she wouldn’t market and didn’t have time to cook or process. Her tomatoes are so good that I gladly accepted this new project. (Thanks again, K.!)
When hubby took the box out of the car, he thought I had lost my mind. There must have been a hundred tomatoes in there. It’s true – I’ve never dealt with so many tomatoes before, so for three hours I was cutting out the bad spots, freezing chopped tomatoes, simmering simple tomato sauce (yum!) and making my favorite fresh condiment – pico de gallo. When hubby tasted the pico de gallo and smelled the pure tomato sauce simmering on the stove, he thought maybe I wasn’t so crazy after all.
Pico de gallo is an uncooked condiment in Mexican cuisine that has tomatoes, onions, chiles and other herbs/flavorings; it’s sometimes referred to as a type of “salsa,” but it’s probably more like an uncooked chutney. The great thing about it is that you can use terrificly ripe, but imperfectly formed tomatoes, and it all gets chopped up anyway. (Finally, a use for all those frozen serranos I have in the freezer from my garden!) I didn’t have cilantro in the garden because it has gone to seed (sigh), but my next batch will have cilantro when we buy some. Hurry out to the markets this weekend and pick up some tomatoes to make some pico de gallo for your weekend cookout!
Fresh Recipe: My Take on Pico de Gallo
Makes enough to serve as an appetizer or snack with chips. Note on the chiles: this recipe is medium hot, bordering on hot due to the powerful serranos. For those with sensitivity to spicy things, reduce to one chile or none at all.
- 6 to 8 ripe tomatoes, seeds removed, diced small
- 2 serrano chiles, minced
- 1 scallion or small onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- juice from 1 lime, or juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 sprigs cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. Drain a little of the liquid if you wish. I like it room temperature, but you can chill it and serve it cold. Keeps for a couple days covered in the fridge.