Pico de Gallo, Guacamole and Corn Salsa Salad: 3 Dishes from One Base
If you have fresh Pico de Gallo, you can make Guacamole or Corn Salsa Salad in under 5 minutes with no fuss. The cost of the Pico is $2.75, Guacamole is $2.20, and Corn Salsa Salad is $1.50.
Pico de Gallo
My daughter's favorite dish is Pico de Gallo. I make it constantly, and it rarely seems to make it to the refrigerator. If it does survive, Pico is a very versatile ingredient and a time-saver for making other dishes and salsas. To make great Pico, always start with Roma tomatoes that are ripe, but not overripe or mushy. Add in both chopped sweet onions and minced green onions. Chose a pepper (jalapenos or serrano peppers are best) with a heat level you like and finely mince it. Add the juice of a lime, chopped cilantro and salt. That's it—for around $3, you can find all the ingredients for Pico at your local Aldi or Walmart, and you can prepare it in under 15 minutes.
Once you get a Pico de Gallo you like, it becomes the basis for your guacamole as well. If your Pico is balanced, your guacamole will likely be balanced as well. All you really need is the Pico and a couple of ripe avocados and a little favor correction (garlic powder, lime and cilantro). The ripeness of the avocado is key—if they are underripe, they will be hard, and you will have difficulty mashing them. If they are overripe, the avocado will be discolored and slimy. Look for avocados that are soft enough to "give" a little when you press your thumb against them. But if they are mushy or really soft, they are beyond the point where they make good guacamole. Tip: buy “hard” avocados 3-5 days before you need to use them and keep them on the kitchen counter as they ripen. If they appear to be ripening too fast, refrigerate them.
Once your avocados are ripe, slice and mash them, and add 2-4 T of Pico de Gallo, depending on how chunky you like your Guacamole.
Now add 1/4 t. of garlic powder (more if you really like garlic flavor). I do not like raw garlic in guacamole, as I think it overwhelms more delicate flavors, like avocado. Now add the juice of 1/2 a lime and 1/4 c. of chopped cilantro and salt to taste.
You just made guacamole in under 5 minutes since you already had Pico de Gallo in the fridge.
Corn Salsa Salad
I also try to make a Corn Salsa Salad if I have extra Pico. Cook a package of microwave corn in the microwave. Put in a bowl to cool. Add 1/3 c. of Pico de Gallo. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and correct salt and see if the salad is balanced. I always add at least 1 chopped green onion and extra chopped cilantro. Always check for salt and pepper after you add the Pico de Gallo, as it is salted.
When I'm serving Fajitas or other Mexican, TexMex or New Mexican dishes, I try to make a bowl of Pico de Gallo early in the day, and let it rest and "mix." It truly gets better tasting while resting. Then I make the Guacamole and the Corn Salad as it nears time for the meal. Having both Pico and Guacamole to top fajitas, enchiladas or whatever is on the menu is a treat. The Corn Salad with Pico de Gallo goes with most everything Southwestern and is a quick, stress-free veggie that requires no stove or oven time when they are needed for other dishes.
Pico de Gallo, Guacamole and Corn Salad with Pico (Cost is $2.75 for Pico, $2.20 for Guac and $1.50 for Corn Salad)
Pico de Gallo
1 lb. Roma Tomatoes (6-7 medium tomatoes) ($1.30, Aldi)
1 medium sweet onion ($0.30, Sam’s Club)
3-4 green onions, white and light green parts only, minced ($0.25, Aldi)
2 Jalapeno peppers, very finely diced ($0.25, Aldi)
Juice of 2 limes ($0.35, Aldi)
½ c. Cilantro, coarsely chopped ($0.25, Aldi)
Salt, to taste.
2 large or 3 small avocados, ripe ($2, Sam’s Club)
2 T to 1/4 c. of Pico de Gallo
Juice of 1/2 Lime ($0.10, Aldi)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro ($0.10, Aldi)
Corn Salad with Pico de Gallo
12–16-ounce bag frozen corn ($1, Aldi)
1/3 c. Pico de Gallo
2 green onions, white and light green parts, minced ($0.15)
2 T Olive Oil ($0.25)
2 T. chopped cilantro ($0.10, Aldi)
Pico de Gallo
1. The first step to good Pico de Gallo is to ensure that your tomatoes are ripe (but not mushy). If they are not yet ripe, set them on your kitchen counter for a few days—they will ripen.
2. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pulp with a tablespoon and discard. Cut the remaining tomato into strips and then into 1/4-to-1/3-inch dice and place in a medium bowl.
3. Chop the sweet onion into 1/4-to-1/3-inch dice and add to tomatoes. Mince the white and green parts of 3-4 green onions and add to tomato mixture.
4. Prepare to cut the Jalapeno peppers - use some care as these peppers can vary in terms of heat. Give your pepper a test—generally, there is very little heat in the pepper itself and the heat is in the veins to which seeds are attached internally. If you slice the dark green portion carefully while avoiding these veins and seeds, you should get very little heat from the peppers. If you want more heat, try to mince the internal veins on the peppers. In the image below, the pepper on the right has been removed from the stem for more heat, on the left, it has been removed for less heat. Throw the stems away.
5. Mince your peppers finely and mix into the tomato/onion mixture along with the lime juice. At this point, give a taste. If you want more heat, use another pepper, or add a finely minced serrano pepper.
6. Coarsely chop 1/2 c. fresh cilantro and add to the mixture and correct the salt. Taste again, for balance between the acid (lime), the sweet (the onion), the tangy (tomato), the heat (Jalapeno) and the salty (salt). If it's all in balance, you have a perfect Pico de Gallo. It's okay at this point to adjust the seasoning (add salt or cilantro) or acidity (add lime juice) according to your preference. Let your Pico “rest” for at least one–half hour. Refrigerate up to 3–5 days.
1. Cut 2–3 ripe avocados in half. They should be buttery inside and soft, but not slimy or mushy, with green color. Hit knife against pit and twist to get pit out. Scoop contents onto a plate and discard pit and skins. Mash your avocados with a potato masher, unless you have a molcajete or similar tool. Stop mashing before your avocados are perfectly smooth—you want some chunks so that your guacamole has texture and is clearly fresh and homemade.
2. Add 1/4 c of prepared Pico de Gallo and a 1/4 t of garlic powder. Feel free to use fresh raw garlic-I find it too intense for guacamole. Add the juice of 1/2 lime.
3. Add 1/4 c of chopped cilantro and salt to taste. Serve immediately. Guacamole does not keep well refrigerated for more than a couple hours.
Corn Salad Salsa
1. Cook a packet of frozen corn according to package directions in the microwave.
2. Put corn in a bowl to cool.
3. Add 1/3 c Pico de Gallo, at least one green onion (minced) and 2 T olive oil and 2 T chopped cilantro.
You now have 3 wonderful condiments for your Mexican, TexMex or New Mexican meal. Whether its Fajitas or Enchiladas or whatever you choose, your Pico, Guacamole and Corn Salad will begin the meal (with chips) and round it out (served with the meal as condiments).