Fresh and Easy Pico de Gallo

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My confession….

I’ve made pico de gallo at least once a week for the past month.

I can’t help myself — I’m a woman out of control!

Pico de Gallo
Though in my defense, the tomatoes have been beautiful lately—and pico de gallo can be added to everything!

Of course they’re perfect in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and nachos. It gives an added punch to breakfasts – omelettes, poached eggs, huevos rancheros. And I particularly love to put a few spoonfuls over grilled chicken or broiled fish.

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After all of the pico I’ve gone through, I realized that I’ve never posted a recipe for my basic, tried and true version of it. All of the ingredients are standard items I always keep on hand but it’s just as easy to doctor it up if you’re feeling fancy.

Add some cubed mangoes for a tropical spin.

Diced watermelon to the mix just screams summer loving!

Some ripe avocado would add a creamy texture to the bright pico.

And let’s not forget the option of Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo.

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Super easy to pull together and should definitely be a staple in your fridge — at least for the Summer!

Happy Taco Tuesday!

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Fresh and Easy Pico de Gallo
Makes approximately 4 cups

Ingredients:

3 cups diced tomatoes*
½ cup finely diced red onions
½ – 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeno pepper (depending on preferred heat)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 pinches cayenne pepper (optional)
kosher salt
black pepper

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, cayenne, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Before serving, check for seasonings and add extra salt kosher salt or black pepper as needed.

*scoop out the seeds of the tomato and discard before dicing

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Avocado Crema

Grilled Shrimp Tacos


San Diego is the land of fish and seafood tacos.

And since moving here, I’ve had my fair share of them. Deliciously fresh seafood combined with bright salsas and spice—- all wrapped up in flour or corn tortillas.

Perfection.

So it was high time that I share with you one my favorite (and easy) seafood tacos that I love to make—Grilled Shrimp Tacos.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

To add even more oompf to these tacos, I made a Spicy Avocado Crema using Mexican Crema. Mexican Crema–or Crema Espesa is similar in flavor and consistency to Crème fraîche. Its natural cooling effect works wonders to balance spicy tones and is even more fantastic with the addition of the creamy avocados, cilantro, and jalapeno.

Fish would be just as fantastic in these tacos using the same marinade and method—however, if you do go this route, be sure to use a firmer fish that would hold up in the taco. I personally like the “bite” of texture that the shrimp give in these tacos but to each their own!

And in case you’re wondering, my suggested cocktail pairing for these killer tacos would be a Cadillac Margarita or an icy cold Mexican Beer with Lime & Salt.:)

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Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Avocado Crema  

Ingredients:

Spicy Avocado Crema:
1½ Cups Ripe Avocado, diced
½ Cup Mexican Crema (or Crème fraîche )
¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Teaspoon Jalapeno Pepper, finely diced and seeded
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
Kosher Salt and Ground Pepper to taste

Shrimp:
1 Pound Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Teaspoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lime Zest
¼ Teaspoon Red Chili Flake
2 Pinches Cayenne Pepper
2 Pinches Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt

Serve with:
Tortillas
Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo
Fresh Cilantro Leaves
Lime Wedges

Prepare the Spicy Avocado Crema by combining all the ingredients in a food processor. Puree until thoroughly combined. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Prepare shrimp by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl and marinate for 10 minutes. If using an outdoor grill, skewer the shrimp on soaked bamboo sticks.  If using an indoor grill pan, heat over a medium-high flame. Grill shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side until opaque. Remove from grill and place on a large platter.

Warm tortillas in a skillet. Assemble tacos by placing a layer of the Corn Pico de Gallo in a tortilla and top with the grilled shrimp. Drizzle the Spicy Avocado Crema over the top and sprinkle with cilantro. Enjoy!

Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo

Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo

I love Condiments.

Hot sauces, dips, salsas, flavored ketchup, sauces…… I’m completely obsessed. No salsa bar is safe from me and I am without a doubt the reason why many food spots charge extra for sauces these days.

But when condiments can also be considered a “dip” or even a side dish—-well then it’s brilliant! And my Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo does just that!

Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo

Traditional Pico de Gallo is known for its bright flavors from the citrus and cilantro. These components play so well with the slight heat from the chilies and coolness of tomatoes. To add a different flair, I threw in fresh corn for a bit of sweetness and crunch. The whole combination married so well together and for me, depicted summer at its best.

This Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo is extremely versatile as well. Serve it as a dip with chips or veggies. Layer it in tacos or over freshly grilled meat or fish. You can even serve it as a side dish!

But one thing is for sure, be sure you make A LOT of it because you will definitely gobble it all up!

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Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:

2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes, diced and seeded
1 Cup Whole Corn Kernels
½ Cup White Onion, finely diced
¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
½ Tablespoon Serrano Chili, finely diced and seeded
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lime Zest
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1-2 Pinches Ground Cumin
Kosher Salt and Ground Pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Beef Fajitas with Fresh Tomatillo Salsa and Pico De Gallo

I love Mexican cuisine. Something about the spice and citrus flavors remind me of my own heritage’s cuisine—though, in a completely different light.

Lucky for me, I live in an area where Mexican and Spanish ingredients are readily available for my culinary experiments. Plus, the BF has become quite adept to making some stellar salsas and pico de gallos

One night, we decided to try our hand with tomatillos. It is, after all, my goal for 2010 to cook with ingredients I’ve never tried before. So we headed to our local Mexican grocer, Mercados Suvianda in San Jose, California to pick up some supplies. Sure, this trusted establishment has their own array of pre-marinated proteins to choose from. However, I was up for the challenge and wanted to marinate my own carne asada with chipotle peppers.

The overall results? Muy Bueno!!! Of course, I think salsas get better over time. And in fact, our Tomatillo Salsa and Pico de Gallo improved after each day. We opted to cook the Tomatillo Salsa a bit to mellow out the “green”—almost “not yet ripe” flavor that it has. That choice proved quite successful. As for the beef, I was quite heavy handed with the chipotle peppers. Therefore, if you like a less “smoky” flavor, decrease the amount to only 1.5-2 ounces of the peppers.

We were quite pleased with our midweek Mexican eats. And since we knew exactly what was going in it—it was all fairly healthy. Whole-wheat tortillas, good fats from the avocado, moderate amounts of beef, tons of veggies. And that’s the key to balanced eating. Fresh, bright, flavors will make you a balanced foodie:)

Prepping the Tomatillo Salsa

 

 

Simmering the Tomatillo Salsa

 

 

Assemble and ENJOY!

 

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Beef Fajitas with Fresh Tomatillo Salsa and Pico De Gallo
Serves 4-5

Beef Fajitas
1 Pound Carne Asada (Beef skirt steak or flank steak)
3 Ounces of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, diced
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Tomatillo Salsa
3 Pounds Fresh Tomatillos, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Cilantro, diced
1 Large Jalapeno Pepper, diced
1 Medium Serrano Chili, diced
1 4-Ounce Can of Roasted and Peeled Green Chiles, diced
¼ Cup Yellow Onions, diced
1 Tablespoon Garlic, diced
½ Tablespoon Lime Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pico de Gallo
2 Pounds Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¼ Cup Yellow Onions, diced
1-2 Tablespoons Cilantro, diced
½ Large Jalapeno Pepper, diced
1 Medium Serrano Chili, diced
2 Tablespoon Lime Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Side Accompaniments
1-2 Ripe Avocados, diced
8-12 Tortillas
Grilled Bell Peppers and Onions
Tortilla Chips
Lime Wedges

Take the first 8 ingredients of the Tomatillo Salsa and place in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste before moving to a medium sized sauce pan. Simmer on low for 7-10 minutes. Let cool before moving to the refrigerator. Chill for at least one hour. Taste to check seasonings prior to serving. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Take the first 6 ingredients of the Pico de Gallo and mix in a medium sized bowl. Salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. Taste to check seasonings prior to serving. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Take all ingredients for the beef fajitas and place in a gallon sized ziploc bag. Be sure to get most of the air out of the bag before sealing it. Let marinate for 30-40 minutes.

Heat grill pan to medium-high. Lightly cover pan with cooking spray. Cook beef for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove to cutting board and rest for 5 minutes before slicing into strips. Plate along side grilled onions and bell peppers.

Assemble each wrap with beef, grilled bell peppers & onions, avocados, and salsa/pico de gallo.

ENJOY!