In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpiko ðe ˈɣaʎo], rooster's beak), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and sometimes chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lemon or lime juice, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or other fresh firm pulpy fruit such as mango.
Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as other Mexican salsas, or Indian chutneys, but since it contains less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.
In some regions of Mexico, a fruit salad (watermelon, orange, jícama, cucumber and sometimes melon and papaya) tossed in lime juice and hot sauce or chamoy and sprinkled with a salty chili powder is also known as pico de gallo; it is a popular snack and usually sold outside schools, while the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada, which means minced or chopped sauce, salsa bandera or salsa mexicana, because the colors red (tomato), white (onion), and green (chili) are the colors of the Mexican flag.
One of the sources for the name "rooster's beak" could be the beak-like shape and the red color of the chilis used to make it. According to food writer Sharon Tyler Herbst, it is so called because originally it was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, and retrieving and eating the condiment resembled the actions of a pecking rooster.
Another suggested etymology is that pico is derived from the verb picar, which has two meanings: 1) to mince or chop, and 2) to bite, sting or peck. The rooster, gallo in Spanish, is a common metaphor for the hyper-masculine ("macho") male in Mexican culture. One example of such machismo is taking pride in withstanding the spicy burn of chilis.
Full article ▸