Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rustic Chunky Pico

It was a glorious day today and we spent most of it outdoors.  After having a record cold and wet winter, we basked in the sun and warm breezes today.

And after we were done basking, I felt we needed something fresh and really yummy for dinner.  So I whipped up one of my faves...

It's Rustic.  It's Chunky.  It's Pico.  ("It's a home run!  The crowd goes wild!")

One of the reasons I love this stuff is because it tastes so fresh and healthy.  The other reason is because I don't have to chop things to perfection in order for this to look good or to taste good.  And that, my friends, is why I love me some Pico!

First I chop up a bunch of tomatoes.  I prefer Romas.  They're small, tasty, and you can always find them.  Plus they're easy to chop.  That's a big plus to me.

After chopping, throw them in a big bowl.  

At this point I'd like to mention that I'm not putting any measurements in this recipe because said measurements are dependent on a couple things:  
(1) The number of people you'll be serving your Pico to.  
(2) The amount of Pico you would like to present in the bowl to serve to other people after you have had your fill of "taste tests."  
(3) Your personal taste preferences.
(4) That's all.
(5) Thank you.

After the toms, chop up an onion.  I usually use a Vidalia or Sweet onion.  (Is that the same thing?  You'd think I'd know being so close to Vidalia, but alas, I do not.)  Just use a yellow onion, sweet or whatever the store has on hand.  Not a red one.  Don't like that color in my Pico.  I know, I know.  Picky, Picky, Pico.

So, chop up an onion.  The store didn't have any sweet onions, so I only used half of this one.  Probably coulda cut that back a bit, but it was still good.  Good and oniony.  Is that a word?  Oniony...

Throw that in the bowl too...

Then comes the jalepeno.   These babies will either make you smile with delight or cry with pain.  Depends on what kind of woman you are.  Personally, I'm a lightweight when it comes to heat/spice.  I don't like my taste buds to feel like they're attempting to detach themselves from my tongue.  Just a personal preference.

So, I cut my jalepeno in half.

And then I take that half and take the seeds out.  I've been told that's where the heat is.  In the seeds.  I'm not going to test that theory.  

And then -- then I cut it into REALLY tiny pieces.   And sometimes, if I'm not careful, I might cut off a fingernail with my super sharp Ginsu knife.  But only sometimes.  (And don't freak, y'all.  I didn't bleed and I DID find the fingernail!  It's not in my Pico.)

By now you know the routine:  toss it in the bowl.

Now comes my mostest favoritest part.  The cilantro.  Ahhh, cilantro.  I love to say the word.  I love to smell the herb.  I love to eat the leaves.   I. LOVE. CILANTRO.  There.  I said it.  And I'm not ashamed.

I do have a cilantro chopping trick for you, though.  I learned this one from a Pampered Chef lady years and years ago.

Lop off some of the top of the cilantro bunch.  Careful!  That Ginsu is sharp!  Dump the leaves into a small bowl.  Get some kitchen scissors.  Point scissors down into the bowl and snip.  

Snip again.  And again and again.  Snip until your cilantro is chopped to your preference.  Don't snip it too small or you won't be able to taste it.   This is Rustic Chunky Pico, so chant that if you need to remember not to over snip. ("Rustic Chunky Pico.  Big bits."  Snip.  "Rustic Chunky Pico.  Big Bits."  Snip.)

Then throw it in the bowl.  
Stir to combine all veggies.
Looks good, doesn't it?

Now it's time to add the seasonings.

I use a liberal sprinkling of Kosher salt.  Not because I'm Kosher.  Or that I eat Kosher stuff.  Or even that I really know what it means to be Kosher.  Only because I like the big chunkyness of it.    Fits in well with the whole theme of this Pico.

Then some garlic powder.

And a little lime juice.

Stir it well so all the spices mix with the veggies.  Your veggies should be getting really juicy and that makes it all mix a lot better.  And taste better.  

After all the stirring, taste test time!  You know you want to!  Grab a chip and taste.

Adjust the seasonings to your preference.   

Depending on what chips you use, you might want to go easy on the salt.  Seems as if store bought tortilla chips are saltier than the sea.  At least to my taste buds.  

Sometimes, when I'm feeling really frisky, I make my own chips.  I use corn tortillas and cut them up into wedges.  I spray a pan liberally with Pam and spread the tortillas on the pan in one layer.  Spray the tortillas with more Pam and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Bake at 425 until golden.  These are really good if you have the time.  But plan on making about 4 times as many as you think you'll need.  It's amazing how quickly they disappear.

Enjoy your Rustic Chunky Pico.
The beauty.
The aroma.
The taste.  Oh, the taste!
And if you think this is good, wait until you see what I did to another recipe using this Pico.  (What was left of it after I had "taste tested!")

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