Mangos are sexy. There, I’ve said it. Sure, it’s a tropical fruit and we know tropical is sexy but it’s more than that. They’re lush and perfumed…juicy and succulent. Hold a ripe mango up to your nose and take a deep whiff and you’ll know what I’m talking about: it’s heaven. And the best thing – that lovely sweetness isn’t afraid to stand up to chile. In fact, the two were made for each other.
Once upon a time, it was tough to get mangos but now it’s pretty easy. Most of our mangos come from Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean and South America but you’ll find them growing in tropical climates all over the world. The countries where we get our mangos from have two main growing seasons so you can usually find mangos year round. And you’ll find some homegrown mangos from Florida, Hawaii, California and Puerto Rico.
For something that tastes so decadently sweet, mangos are surprisingly good for you. Actually, astonishingly good for you.They’ve got loads of Vitamins A and C and buckets of potassium. And very high fiber too, if I might add. And best of all they’re low calorie – about 110 calories for an average mango. Not bad.
I think what puts some people off mangos is slicing them and I’ll be honest, it is a bit of a fiddle. There is a fairly large stone in the middle which the flesh clings too so you can’t simply slice it in half like an avocado. You’ve got to slice around the stone and then take the skin off. It’s no big deal and I share my tips to make it easy in the recipe. Or go online and check out a video tutorial.
Lastly, before you slice into a mango, make sure it’s ripe. You can’t always tell by the color. Different varieties can be dark green, vibrant yellow or yellow and green with a red blush that makes it look like a really delicious Tequila Sunrise. The best test, is to gently press the skin. It should yield slightly. Oh, and of course take a whiff. Now tell me that’s not sexy.
Makes about 1 cup of salsa but feel free to double or triple the recipe
1 ripe mango, cubed (see below) – about 1 cup
1 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lime
1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
½ tsp chile pequin
Pinch of sea salt
Mangos have a stone in the center that is about an inch wide. Insert the tip of your knife into either side of the stone. If you hit the stone, don’t worry. Just lift your knife and move it slightly over. Once on one side of the stone, slice through. Repeat on the other side. You now have two ‘cheeks’ that are slightly boat shaped. To remove the skin, place a cheek on your chopping board and slice it in half lengthwise. You’ll now have two quarters. Repeat with the other cheek so you have four quarters in total.
Now take your knife and insert it at one end as close to the mango skin as possible. Slide the knife between the skin and fruit to separate the two. I use a filleting knife for this because it has a slightly flexible blade that I find easier to use with mango. Repeat with the other mango quarters. You can also get an additional piece of flesh off either side of the stone. Dice the flesh.
Mix the mango with the other ingredients, check for seasoning and serve. Superb with chicken, seafood – shrimp, scallops, tuna, swordfish (you get the idea) or simply a bowl of tortilla chips. Best made no more than an hour or so before serving.