Today we hit another summer milestone, the first day you walk out of the house at the crack of dawn (so 5-something early-am) to walk the dog, and its noticeably warmer outside than inside my 80F house. (This is followed by later in the summer where you walk out at 5am and just burst into flames).
The good news is they are going to try to go all summer at the Ahwatukee farmers market. It’s on Sunday, and they are now starting at 8am. The find for the last couple of weeks has been mango’s, the really good kind. There are two types of Mangos (ok, there are probably more than that, but I’ll stick to what I know). First are the ones you find in grocery stores, what I know as Mexican mangos. They have been bred to ship well, and are pretty good if you let them ripen (these will go from green to a pretty rose/gold shade when ripe) but tend to be a bit fibrous. The other kind of mangos, the really good kind, are Philippine mangos. I first had them in Manila (when I had to go there periodically for work, I tried to go in February, which is when mango’s are in season and before the summer monsoon’s hit). These mango’s are generally a little smaller, more yellow (no red color at all), and really sweet and juicy, not fibrous… in fact, you can cut them with a tableknife (the sharpest knife they will leave in the hotel room). And they have had them for the last couple of weeks at the farmers market. I am not sure what the season is in Phoenix, but glad they are growing them!
Mangos are a bit tricky to eat. You need to peel them, they are somewhat slimy once the peel is off, and they have a strange flat seed inside. Here is how to be a mango master (this works for either kind of mango): After washing the mango, hold it in your hand with stem end up, and you will notice that its wider in one direction. With a paring knife, starting at the middle of the top, slice down with the knife running across the widest dimension. Once you are through the skin, you will hit the seed. Let the knife go either right or left, and slice down along the seed, you should just feel the seed with the knife. Cut all the way through so half is cut off. Repeat for the other side. You will be left with a slice from the middle that’s about ¼ inch or a little wider. Next, pick up a half, and gently make criss-cross cuts, in the size you want (small, like a ¼ inch for salsa, closer to an inch to just eat). Just push on the skin and turn inside out, and scoop off with a spoon. There is a bit of fruit you can still get off the seed, cut off the skin, and then cut the remaining fruit from the edge (maybe a ¼ inch or so). That’s it.
Mangos are good with ice cream or just to eat straight, but I really like Mango Salsa. Its great with grilled fish or chicken, with chips or on sandwich, or dumped into a salad (with a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing). Here is a recipe to try, feel free to adjust to your taste! It will keep for several days.
1 Mango (preferably a Philippine mango), diced (¼ inch)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ to ½ a bell pepper (yellow or red), diced
¼ teaspoon chili power*, or a bit of finely minced Jalapeño (to taste -- going for a mild heat)
About 1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of salt
Juice of ~ ½ a small lemon
Mix everything together, adjust sal t, chile, and lemon to taste. Best if done a couple of hours ahead of time, and this will keep for several day’s.
* I have been using a green chili powder from Native seed search which is quite yummy (thanks Barb!)