Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo is the perfect summer dish to highlight for our last recipe. Enjoy it as a snack with chips or part of a taco feast. The ingredients are very simple: tomatoes, onions, pickled jalapenos, cilantro (or not, for those of you recoiling at the very word) and fresh lime juice. The important thing is to start with a high quality tomato and to respect that tomato. Whole tomatoes should always be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and preferably laid out flat as opposed to piled on top of each other; they need air! When you put whole tomatoes in the fridge, you halt crucial enzyme activity that is necessary for flavour and texture development. So all of those mealy, flavourless tomatoes you’ve tasted may not have been the tomato’s fault at all; they may have just been stored improperly. If you do have tomatoes that have previously been refrigerated, you can recover some of that enzyme activity by letting your tomatoes sit at room temperature for a couple of days. They won’t be the same, but they will get over some of the shock. As many of you know, we pickle our own jalapenos at HC, processing constantly through the Ontario growing season so that we can have local, house-made pickled jalapenos year-round. I have included our brine recipe and instructions on how to make your own pickled jalapenos. If you would rather, you can purchase pickled jalapenos at the grocery store.
– Chef Anna
This brine is very versatile; you can use it on any vegetable you would like to pickle. You can make a batch of brine and just use what you need, reserving the rest in the fridge for a later time. Or you can do a large batch of jalapenos and they will keep for months. Slice the jalapenos to whatever size you want (wear gloves!) and then slice up a regular yellow onion. Place your jalapenos in a jar, add the onions on top and pour in your cold brine, making sure to completely submerge the jalapenos and onions. Cover and keep in the fridge for two weeks before tasting.
1 L water
1 L white vinegar
3.75 tbsp salt
4 tbsp white sugar
- Boil the water, salt and sugar. Allow to cool before adding the vinegar.
- Use on any vegetable and customize to your taste and the ingredient you are pickling (bay leaf, peppercorn, mustard seed, garlic etc.)
Pico de Gallo
2 cups sliced cherry tomato or diced tomato of your choosing
3 tbsp diced red onion (at HC the day before we are going to serve pico de gallo we
dice the red onion and let it pickle overnight in the fridge using the brine from the pickled
jalapenos, add a splash of the brine into your pico.)
1 tsp – 1 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos (depending on your spice preference)
1 tsp lime zest (about ½ lime’s worth)
2 tbsp lime juice
salt, pepper and chopped cilantro to taste
- Mix it all together, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then taste and adjust the salt. Enjoy!