This particular pico de gallo use to have a really sucky name. That was unfortunate. Now, however, it has an awesome name which is entirely fitting since it is an awesome flavour mix. The new name just sort of popped out – I was doing some Chrstmas baking and shouting random and generally wrong lyrics to the Brave Combo version of Must Be Santa and there it was. Ho ho ho.
So. This is an easy pico that makes any sort of roasted or grilled pork into a festival of summery brightness. There are just a handful of ingredients and the actual “putting it together” time is short. However, you will want to start making this about 2 hours before you plan to eat it – the watermelon needs to drain for a bit and you want to give some time at the end for the flavours to come together.
And a big special super thanks to Pippa at the Cheese Shoppe On Locke for information and advice about the feta!
You can make this salsa at any time, but some of the ingredients are best in the summer, so you really should make some now:
100 grams of aged feta (see note below)
half of an english cucumber, peeled (see note below)
a nice chunk of seedless watermelon (see note below)
50 ml (or a scant 1/4 cup) of olive oil
2 tablespoons of seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
a pinch of dried oregano or a palmful of chopped fresh
a couple of cranks of pepper
A Note About Feta: You want aged feta, and specifically oak-aged feta. The aging gives it a brighter taste and a better bite after it is diced. Don’t skimp with a cheap cheese here. Please.
A Note About Cucumber: Normally I am loathe to peel cucumber, but do it here, It makes for a more pleasing texture in the finished mix. And the “half” measurement is a rough estimate, you want your pile of diced feta and your pile of diced cucumber to be about the same size.
A Note About Watermelon: Sorry for the useless “portion” description, but it’s really hard to measure watermelon before you cut it. What you are looking for is twice as much watermelon as either cucumber or feta after the peeling and dicing. If it helps, this is how much I used:
Okay. Now that all the caveats are out of the way, start with the watermelon. Cut it into a fine dice.
Then dump it into a fine strainer at let it drain off for at least 90 minutes. Two hours is better. Give it a gentle toss once in a while if you think about it.
When the watermelon is ready, peel the cucumber and dice both it and the feta to the same size. Toss all three ingredients together with your oregano in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and pepper. Gently mix this dressing into the watermelon mixture and let it stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Mix it a couple of times while you wait. When your 30 minutes is up either serve immediately or put it in the fridge to hold until you are ready. It is best when fresh, but it will keep in the fridge for 2 or 3 days if you have any leftovers.
Remember that this is a wet salsa – almost like an antipasto in oil. Serve it with a regular spoon or a slotted spoon depending on the effect you want to achieve. On big slices of wood-roasted pork shoulder, you would want to get lots of the oil to spread and soak in. In tacos with shredded grilled pork (how I am serving it in the photo here, along with guacamole cream) you would want to get less oil. Either way it’s totally delicious, so feel free to play it by ear.