Salsa Fresca; Salsa Bandera; Pico De Gallo

photo (11)Growing up I didn’t eat a lot of fresh salsa, it wasn’t that I didn’t like – it’s just that it wasn’t around much. The salsa that I knew, was dark red and roasted, sometimes green; in big bowls laid out next to taquerias or at family gatherings. It was hot; sometimes a little bitter and every bowl you came across was completely different than the last. Quien hizo este? You’d ask. “Who made this?” – you knew who made the best of the bunch – that’s the bowl you’d crowd. 

Moving on.

It wasn’t until a little later that I discovered the beauty that is fresh salsa. In California, where I’m from, we called it ‘Salsa Fresca’. Pico De Gallo was something completely different. I’ve seen it referred to as Salsa Bandera (which totally sounds the most bad-ass of the bunch) or Salsa Mexicana. Let’s just call it delicious.

The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity; it’s neither cooked nor fussy and can be made fairly quickly. It is essentially: Chop Ingredients | Add Spices | Mix in a bowl

Each ingredient can be minimized or maximized according to your taste. I like raw onion but I don’t love it so I don’t add much in my salsa. Cilantro on the other hand – sometimes I go overboard. So, the recipe below is nothing more than a template to work from.  

NOTES: I add garlic powder (fresh garlic can be fickle sometimes – and bitter) and a splash of red wine vinegar to give the acidity in the salsa a little punch. But that’s just me. ALSOI chop my tomatoes then salt them before I do anything else. Salting them helps draws out some of the moisture and I think the end result is better.

Here’s how I make it. Feel free to mess around with it. 

Salsa Fresca

4 Roma Tomatoes – Seeded and diced.
1/4 medium onion – peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped (packed) cilantro
1 – 2 Jalapenos – seeded and diced

Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Splash of red-wine vinegar (any vinegar will suffice really)
pinch of black pepper
Salt to taste1. Seed & Dice tomatoes. Add to a medium mixing bowl – sprinkle tomatoes with a bit of salt. Set aside.
2. Chop remaining (fresh) ingredients add to bowl of tomatoes.
3. Squeeze in fresh lime juice (no seeds!)
4. Add garlic powder, black pepper and vinegar.
5. Stir evenly and thoroughly.
6. Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon or so)Buen Provecho!

6 responses to “Salsa Fresca; Salsa Bandera; Pico De Gallo

  1. One time I was watching some random cooking show and a young woman came on to make some salsas. She chopped up white onion then ran the chopped bits under water for a couple of seconds to “remove the fire.” I thought this was a fabulous tip! Now I do this all the time. Stops the eyes from crying and, maybe I am crazy, but the onion does seems sweeter. Just sharing…

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