In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (pronounce it as PEEK-o -day-GUY-o), literally beak of rooster, also called salsa fresca, is made from chopped tomato, onion, coriander leaves (we love our cilantro!), fresh serranos (jalapeños or habaneros are used as alternatives), salt, and key lime juice. How did salsa come to be named after a bird’s beak? One explanation is that Fighting Cocks are calmed by their handlers by placing the rooster’s head in the mouth. Darkness causes birds to immediately begin the sleep cycle. Often as soon as the handler put the bird’s head in his mouth he would be pecked on the tongue. The spices in the salsa gives the same feeling, hence “pico de gallo” is the beak of a fighting rooster biting your tongue!
This post has been updated for the 2019 Texas Trail Roundup.