Oaxacan Pico de Gallo 6.000
Jan 12, 2011

The city of Oaxaca has many tall grapefruit trees. The fruit is put to good use in this refreshing, zippy salsa.

It is best served the day it is made.

Servings: 6
  • 2 large grapefruit, cut into segments (see NOTE)
  • 4 dried pasilla (negro) chili peppers, preferably from Oaxaca
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • Coarse or kosher salt


Arrange the grapefruit segments in a serving dish in a single layer.

If you have a gas stove, use tongs to toast the whole chili peppers over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant. Turn them frequently so they don't burn. (If you have an electric stove, place the peppers in a dry skillet over low heat and cook until fragrant but not burned, turning them as needed.) Cool completely; they should be crisp.

Break the peppers into pieces into a designated spice grinder; grind to a powder.

Use the wide blade of a large knife to smash the garlic cloves on a cutting board, then sprinkle them generously with salt (a good teaspoon) and finely chop. Use the wide blade of the knife to mash the salted garlic bits into a paste (this will take a few minutes). Sprinkle the pasilla chili powder on top and mix well to form a nubbly mixture.

Just before serving, sprinkle the garlic-chili pepper powder mixture over the grapefruit.

NOTE: Use a serrated knife to slice off the ends of the fruit. Place the grapefruit on a cutting board and slice off their peels and pith, leaving as much of the fruit intact as possible. Use a small, sharp knife to cut between the membranes to separate the segments, letting them fall into a bowl as you work.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from Diana Kennedy's >"Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy"

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.