I’ve been traveling over the past few weeks, with a portion of that in New Mexico. I tend to eat chips and salsa often when there partially because they are naturally gluten-free. Partially because they are just so darn good! Each time I travel there it reminds me how easy it is to make tortilla chips at home as well as pico de gallo; a fresh salsa that’s very popular and so easy to make. Both of these things have seemed so easy to make that doing a blog post about them seems silly. At the same time, I recall my own ‘a ha’ moment when beginning to make them and am forging ahead to share the recipes today.
Making corn tortilla chips is not only fun and easy but offers a chance to change up the seasonings too. All that is needed are some corn tortillas, vegetable or olive oil, salt, a knife and baking sheet. I like to vary the flavor by sprinkling a bit of chili powder along with some salt, or maybe some smoked salt giving the chips a smoky flavor. The chips are done in about 20 minutes start to finish making them a great option for meals, gatherings or even at the last minute when there are no chips in the house. My husband is a big chip eater so having this method up my sleeve is a good one in the event we’ve run out of chips unexpectedly.
Pico de gallo is best known as a fresh style salsa made up of tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno or serrano pepper with a bit of lime. It’s often served at Mexican restaurants with other types of salsa or as a relish of sorts. It has saved me many a time when landing at a restaurant that uses green or red chile sauce with flour in it. It makes a bright, fresh option to top meat or omelets.
When I took a salsa making class in Santa Fe last year the chef reminded us that salsa does best when given time to sit after being prepared. Though it can be eaten right away, I like to give it at least a few hours for the flavors to blend or overnight.
Homemade Tortilla Chips and Pico de Gallo
Ingredients for Pico de Gallo:
- 3 medium ripe Tomatoes , cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 Red Onion , peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup packed fresh Cilantro Leaves
- 1/2 Jalapeno Pepper , seeded and diced
- Juice of 1/2 a Lime
- 1 large Garlic Clove , peeled and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
- Kosher Salt to taste
Ingredients for Homemade Tortilla Chips:
- 1 package 5-6 inch Corn Tortilla (usually 12 in a package)
- Olive oil or Vegetable Oil
- Kosher Salt
Instructions for Pico de Gallo:
Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl. Mix completely. Allow to sit a few hours or overnight (refrigerated). Salt to taste and serve.
Instructions for Homemade Tortilla Chips:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a basting brush, lightly brush with olive or vegetable oil, or alternatively spray with olive oil spray.
On a cutting board, brush the top of a corn tortilla lightly with olive oil ensuring the entire surface and edges are coated. Add a second tortilla on top of the oil-brushed tortilla and repeat. Continue this pattern until there is a stack of tortilla with the top surfaces brushed with oil.
Using a large kitchen knife, cut the stack in half creating two stacks of semi circles. Cut each half stack in thirds to create wedges.
Line the tortilla on the prepared baking sheet in alternating directions to fit as many onto a sheet as possible without letting the tortilla wedges touch each other. Sprinkle lightly with salt. TIP: take a pinch of salt between your two first fingers and thumb, holding them about a foot above the baking sheet gently rub your fingers and thumb allowing a small amount of salt to fall onto the chips. Move over the tray to sprinkle on all wedges. Holding hand high above the tray allows more control to lightly cover chips.
Place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 7 minutes and rotate the tray. Bake an addition 7-8 minutes, test a chip for crispness; chips will continue to become crisp as they cool outside the oven. If crisp enough remove and allow to fully cool. Or return to the oven to cook another few minutes before removing and allowing to cool.