Pico de gallo (Spanish for "rooster's beak") is the term generally referring to a fresh condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and chiles (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lemon or lime juice, fresh cilantro (leaf of coriander), avocado, cucumber, or radish. In some regions of Mexico, a fruit salad tossed in lime juice and sprinkled with a salty Chile powder is also known as pico de gallo, while the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada, which means minced or chopped sauce, or salsa mexicana, because the colors red (tomato), white (onion), and green (chile) are the colors of the Mexican flag.
Another plausible etymology is that pico is derived from the verb picar which has two meanings: 1) to mince or chop, and 2) to bite or sting. The rooster, gallo in Spanish, is a common metaphor for the macho male in Mexican culture. One frequent macho theme is that of taking pride in withstanding the heat (picante) of chilies.
A problem with these theories is they assume the use of hot chilies. In many regions of Mexico the term "pico de gallo" refers to any of a variety of salads, condiments or fillings made with sweet fruits, tomatoes, tomatillos, or mild chilies, not necessarily with hot chilies or any chilies at all. Thus, the name could be a simple allusion to the bird feed-like (minced) texture and appearance of the sauce.
Welcome to Burritoville; It's hard to go wrong with the Tex-Mex choices on Pico de Gallo's menu. But look elsewhere for dessert.
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