Fun with Knife Skills: Pico de Gallo

Jul 8th, 2017 | By | Category: blog, cook something, summer
Pico de Gallo, Photo by Bradley P. Johnson

Pico de Gallo, Photo by Bradley P. Johnson

What’s the best way to develop your knife skills after you’ve learned about safety and proper handling?

Use them! Chop, chop.

Cindy Haenel, a chef instructor at Central Market Cooking School in Austin, Texas teaches the school’s Knife Skills 101 course. She says her recipe for Pico De Gallo will give you plenty of practice using this most important kitchen tool.


  • 8 ripe Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and diced 1/4-inch
  • 1 cup finely diced sweet yellow onion
  • 1 or 2 large jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 large limes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. Salt (as needed)


  1. Combine tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice in a non-reactive bowl (glass or stainless steel) and mix gently.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, mix and taste.
  3. If mixture is sour, add more salt until flavor is balanced.
  4. Serve or store covered and chilled up to 2 days (best made fresh, however).

Recipe serves 4-6

Cindy showed me a tool chefs use when starting out (pictured below) that helps them learn the proper shapes and sizes of foods they cut for recipes. This is a handy tool for any home cook who feels a little lost when a recipe asks for an ingredient to receive a particular type of cut. It also has other useful information printed on it, including safe internal cooking temperatures of animal proteins, proper temperatures at which to store foods, and even the names of the mother sauces (in case anyone asks).

Mercer Rules Tool

Mercer Rules Tool

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  1. This is great! I love Field & Feast!

  2. Hi Linda–thanks fo the kind words. And we love Central Texas Gardener on KLRU-TV! Cecilia