Summer isn’t officially here until the first heaping bowl of Nettie’s Pico de Gallo hits the table. Garden fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro, a shake or two of salt and a squeeze of fresh lime, and you’ve got it. I keep a gallon jug of this stuff in the fridge for as long as the seasonal ingredients can be had locally, and then we settle for second-best in the dead of winter; with each huge batch I make, I freeze half for later.

This recipe is totally improvisable, though the original was written out for me by my sister-in-law’s mother, Nerita, who grew up in Mexico. She, too, improvises, but gave me some idea of proportions. When it comes down to it, it’s all about taste, so do what you like. Add more lime, less lime, cut back on the onions, add more peppers. If it’s good for you, you’ve done it right!

Nettie’s Pico de Gallo (or “Garden Fresh Salsa”)
(This will make a small batch. If you’re smart, you’ll make a big batch.)

Garden Fresh Tomatoes–about four large ones (I use a combination of romas and heritage types. This will NOT taste as good if you use store-bought tomatoes, unless you use grape tomatoes, which taste most like real tomatoes and not like water balloons)–cut into bite-sized pieces either by hand or with a food processor
One large onion–sweet or storing–diced
One or two jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (be careful when doing this not to get seeds on hands or put hands in eyes!). Add more jalapenos or a stronger pepper if you like it hot.
A small bundle of cilantro, chopped finely (tip: if you have a food processor, add the cilantro to half of the onion, quartered, and chop them together in the processor. Do the same with the jalapenos and the other half of the onions)
One lime, juiced
Kosher salt to taste

Mix all of these together, adding a bit of olive oil if it seems too dry, and serve with good chips!

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