March 23, 2019


By Jan Kenney

Thanks Frank, wherever you are

In my humble opinion, salsa is the poor cousin to Pico de Gallo. Don’t get me wrong, if tomatoes are not in season or you just don’t have the time, salsa is fine. But it just doesn’t have the fresh burst of flavor that a homemade Pico de Gallo will bring to your table.

I was introduced to Pico de Gallo many years ago by a guy named Frank — probably one of the least-likely people you would expect to swap recipes with — a lobbyist on Capital Hill in Washington D.C. Knowing the egos in that area, I assumed he’d named it after himself and only just recently realized that it probably got it’s name from one of the key ingredients, Frank’s RedHot sauce.

This time of year — when the tomatoes are fresh and juicy, the cilantro is bursting from the ground and watermelons are at their sweetest — is when you should really take the time to make and serve this healthy and versatile recipe.

And if you don’t mind chopping, it’s a cinch to make.

Use it any way you’d use salsa. The simplest way to serve it is, of course, with corn chips as a dip. And obviously it is perfect on any Mexican-styled foods, like fish tacos or burritos. But it is great on hot dogs as an alternative to relish or ketchup and mustard. Over a simple fish or otherwise unadorned chicken breast, it imparts a freshness, a zing and a lot of color on the plate. It is so pretty on a dollop of cottage cheese. I’ve mixed the left-over juice in with some non-fat Greek yogurt for a quick and different salad dressing.

As always, this recipe is more of a list of suggestions than hard and fast rules.

Frank’s Pico de Gallo

4 cups tomatoes, chopped (5 baseball size tomatoes/8 Italian tomatoes)

1 small red onion, minced

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

1 large jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed

1/2-1/4 cup of watermelon

Juice of 2 limes

Salt, to taste

Frank’s RedHot sauce to taste (1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon sugar

Chop up the tomatoes, onion, garlic cilantro, watermelon and jalapeno into 1/4” or smaller pieces. Add in the lime juice, RedHot sauce and sugar. Place in the refrigerator for an hour at least to let the flavors meld.

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