Salsa Verde and Pico De Gallo

Salsa Verde is a Spanish term that literally means “green sauce”. Italians’ version is one made with olive oil, garlic, capers, anchovies, lemon juice or vinegar, and parsley. The Mexican style salsa verde on the other hand, is similar to the common red salsa with finely chopped onions, garlic, coriander, parsley and chilies, and that instead of using red tomatoes, tomatillos are used. The chili of choice is usually jalapeños. Salsa verde is thinner in consistency compared to the red salsa and can be served fresh or cooked. The level of spiciness may be mild to extra-hot. Salsa verde is more frequently used as a dip for tortilla chips or a side dish for tacos, grilled pork, meats and even fish.

To make salsa verde, the following ingredients are needed:

* 1 pound of tomatillos
* 1 chopped onion
* 1 chopped green onion
* 2 teaspoons of minced jalapeño
* 1 cup chicken stock
* Salt and pepper to taste

Cook tomatillos in salted boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. After boiling, use a blender to puree the tomatillos in water and then set aside. The onions are then sautéed in a large skillet. Before the onions become soft, add the green onions in the skillet. Combine the pureed tomatillos, cooked onions and the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Serve this at room temperature.

Another salsa recipe is the Pico de Gallo. Back in the days, this dish was eaten using the hands, the salsa in between all the fingers resembling a pecking rooster. Thus the name was given. In Spanish, pico de gallo actually means “rooster’s beak”, and is also known as salsa Mexicana. It is made with finely chopped diced tomatoes, onions, lime juice and cilantro. Jicama and other raw ingredients may be added if preferred. It is very similar to the common salsa fresca except that pico de gallo’s ingredients are simply uniformly chopped as opposed to the pureed ingredients of the regular salsa.

Pico de gallo has the following ingredients:

* 3 medium tomatoes that are still firm to the touch
* 1 green onion with the stalk
* 3 jalapeños or serrano peppers to taste
* 1/2 bunch cilantro
* 1 medium sweet yellow onion
* 1 pinch of salt
* some fresh lime juice

To prepare, simply dice the tomatoes and onions into little uniform cubes. Set aside. Then finely chop the cilantro and jalapeños. In a bowl, toss all the ingredients together, making sure that the salsa is mixed well. Serve with your favorite Mexican dish.