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Visit practically anywhere in Mexico and you'll be delighted by the abundance of fruit. You'll find juice stands selling a variety of agua fresca, and street vendors peddling fruit on sticks and zesty fruit salads.
Where our fruit salads tend to be rather predictable, a typical Mexican fruit cocktail has elements of chili and salt, and perhaps some cilantro and onion as well. The combination is interesting in the best possible way, and terrific served alongside Mexican food or on its own for a snack.
The following fruit cocktail recipe is from the Jalisco region of Mexico. Its formal name is "Ensalada de Pico de Gallo" and comes from a friend of a friend from Guadalajara. The salad fires the senses on many fronts. Mostly it's sweet from the pineapple, orange, and apple. Balance comes from the acidity of the lime juice, savory notes from the onion and cilantro, a little salty hit from a sprinkling of salt, and some zing from the jalapeño.
It's delicious! In a completely surprising way.
By the way, when experimenting with the recipe I thought I would chop up the fruit more finely and serve it as a typical pico de gallo. That experiment didn't work at all. This dish works best as a true fruit salad, with large chunks of pineapple and orange.
Mexican Fruit Cocktail
The jalapeño chile is entirely optional. Leave it out altogether if you don't want the heat. Always taste first before adding, some jalapeños are hotter than other. Adjust the amount to the level of heat you want.
- 2 cups of cubed pineapple, slice the cubes into 1/2-inch wide slices
- 2 navel oranges, segmented (see how to segment oranges)
- 1 tart green apple, thinly sliced (can also use jicama)
- 1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded, thinly sliced or finely diced (optional)
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- Pinch of salt
Combine the fruit, jalapeno, and onions in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice over everything. Sprinkle with salt. Toss in cilantro to combine.
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