Fresh salsa is versatile, delicious, and easy to make at home. A classic pico de gallo is simply a well-season combination of tomatoes, onion, herbs, jalapeño, and lime juice. From there, it’s infinitely customizable. Try adding fresh or grilled corn, charred tomatillos, or even a cut up fruit, like mango. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to homemade salsa, but there are a few tips and tricks you can follow for the best results.
How to make a fresh salsa
Choose the best tomatoes for salsa
Fresh salsa calls for a firm tomato that will retain some structure even when it’s thrown in the mix with salt and acidic lime juice. Look for a hearty varietal like Roma or beefsteak. Delicate heirloom tomatoes may end up a little mushy in a salsa. Cherry or grape tomatoes, even though they have a great flavor, will be difficult to cut evenly.
Aim for even cuts
The perfect bite of salsa should have a little bit of everything. When chopping, aim for small, even cuts. That way you won’t end up accidentally biting into a large chunk of onion or an entire jalapeño.
Control your spice level
When you make your own salsa, the spice level is up to you. For a salsa with a kick, finely dice and add a whole jalapeño. For a more mild spice, use a knife to remove the seeds and ribs from any spicy peppers before finely dicing and incorporating.
Avoid watery salsa
Everyone loves a juicy tomato, but no one wants a watery salsa. After dicing your tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt, transfer them to a colander, and allow them to rest for 15-30 minutes. The salt will draw excess moisture out of the tomatoes, and the colander will allow it to run off. This step also ensures thoroughly seasoned tomatoes.
Give it time
After everything is combined, let the salsa sit together for at least a few hours before serving. This will give the flavors time to meld and mature. Pico de gallo will keep for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Basic Easy Pico De Gallo Recipe
- 8ish Roma tomatoes
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, or pepper of your preference
- ½ Cup chopped herbs, like cilantro, or a mixture of cilantro and parsley
- Juice from one lime
Other ingredient ideas:
- Corn kernels
Medium-dice the Roma tomatoes and toss with a generous teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a colander, and allow them to drain for 15-30 minutes.
While the tomatoes rest, finely chop the remaining ingredients and juice the lime. Stir to combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt or lime if desired. Allow your homemade salsa to rest in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.