Proper steps for a spicy salsa

Maricela Murillo, Senior Staff Reporter

This weekend I introduced some of my friends from The Hullabaloo to some authentic Mexican pico de gallo during the afternoon we had at the Fly Sunday (Fly days: yet another reason why you should join The Hullabaloo). I picked up about 12 Roma tomatoes, two white onions, three bunches of cilantro, five serrano peppers, one jalapeno and eight limes. I’ve found that it’s best to make pico de gallo the day that it’s going to be consumed, just because the acids from the lime slowly cook the tomato and onions and make them less firm as time goes on, though it does keep for several days in the fridge if you don’t mind the softer texture.

It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to chop 12 tomatoes, but after about 45 minutes I was finally done. I cut them into small pieces, just because it makes it easier to scoop them up with a tortilla chip and so a bite was never solely tomato. The onions were a lot easier and took a lot less time to chop. I like to cut these into even smaller pieces than the tomatoes, because giant bites of raw onion aren’t always pleasant. I washed the cilantro and gave the bunches a rough chop, taking off the leaves from the thicker stems before I did so.

Now, I wanted to make half of the pico de gallo spicy and the other half not spicy at all, so I mixed the cilantro, tomatoes, onions and the juice of four limes together and then divided it between two containers. I chopped up the serrano and jalapeno peppers (Warning!: Wear gloves when doing this or your fingers and anything you touch will burn like hell for days. Speaking from experience, that is.) I then added all six peppers to the first mix. If you have never tried a serrano pepper before, know that they’re a lot hotter than jalapeno peppers, so unless you’re a true masochist, I’d start with only about one or two peppers per batch until you get used to the heat.

Finally, I added the juice of one lime to each batch because I thought they could use some more acidity, salt to taste and, just like Mary Poppins, a spoonful (maybe a little less) of sugar to each batch as well, just to really bring everything together. This was supposed to feed about 40 people, but seeing as there are still leftovers in my Weatherhead Hall minifridge as of Wednesday, I would make a little less the next time around. 

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