What is Pico de gallo? by wikipedia
"In Mexican cuisine, Pico de gallo (Spanish for "rooster's beak") is a fresh condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and chiles (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lemon or lime juice, fresh cilantro (leaf of coriander), cucumber, or radish."
"In some regions of Mexico, a fruit salad tossed in lime juice and sprinkled with a salty Chile powder is also known as pico de gallo, while the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada, which means minced or chopped sauce, or salsa mexicana, because the colors red (tomato), white (onion), and green (chile) are the colors of the Mexican flag. Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as Mexican salsas or Indian chutneys, but since it contains less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.
"One of the sources for the name "rooster's beak" could be the beak-like shape and the red color of the chiles used to make it. According to Sharon Tyler Herbst, it is so called because originally it was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, and retrieving and eating the condiment resembled the actions of a pecking rooster."
"Another suggested etymology is that pico is derived from the verb picar which has two meanings: 1) to mince or chop, and 2) to bite, sting or peck. The rooster, gallo in Spanish, is a common metaphor for the hyper-masculine ("macho") male in Mexican culture. One example of such machismo is taking pride in withstanding the spicy burn (picante) of chiles."
"A problem with these theories is they assume the use of hot chiles. In many regions of Mexico the term "pico de gallo" refers to any of a variety of salads, condiments or fillings made with sweet fruits, tomatoes, tomatillos, avocado or mild chiles --not necessarily with hot chiles or any chiles at all. Thus, the name could be a simple allusion to the bird feed-like (minced) texture and appearance of the sauce."
"While "Pico de Gallo" literally means "beak of rooster," the expression is used colloquially to mean "chicken feed." The finely-chopped bits and pieces of Pico de Gallo resemble the food given to chickens."
"A theory is that the phrase is simply a phonetic corruption of "salsa picada" --literally, chopped or chunky sauce-- or a synthesis of this with the above observed resemblance to bird feed."
Pico de Gallo has two meanings in Mexican cuisine.
"The most familiar to North Americans is a fresh, tomato-based condiment. It is what North Americans usually mean when talking about "salsa" or "tomato salsa." This salsa is never cooked."
"The second meaning, more common in some regions of Mexico, is a spice mixture including salt and dried chiles which is served, often with lime juice, over fresh fruit. If you are unfamiliar with the regional origin of a recipe involving pico de gallo, context may be the only way to determine which meaning is intended, though for US-Mex dishes the "uncooked salsa" meaning will almost always be correct."
Pico de Gallo Recipe
- 2 cups chopped fresh tomato
- ½ cup chopped white or yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons stemmed, seeded, and minced jalapeño or other chiles
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
1. Dice the vegetables.
2. Combine them, mixing well.
3. Add salt, pepper, chiles, lime juice, and garlic.
4. Add hot sauce if desired.
5. Let stand 30 minutes to allow ingredients to mesh.