Have you noticed that mangoes are everywhere this summer? Mango sorbet, mango smoothies, and now even mango Juicy Juice! Just like when I was pregnant and suddenly started seeing pregnant women everywhere, once I took notice of the mango products on every shelf and offerings of it in one guise or another on every menu, recipes for mango dishes started coming at me right and left. Finally, during the last heat spell, I gave in and decided to try a recipe for mango salad that mysteriously appeared in my own recipe book–the one where I write down or paste in my favorites. I have no idea when I might have pasted it there or where it came from.
I didn’t really think I would enjoy the salad very much; in fact I sort of hoped I wouldn’t. Never having been a big mango fan myself, I was looking forward in a weird sort of way to confirming my somewhat nasty thoughts about this odd-flavored, sometimes mushy-textured and weirdly-colored fruit. (There is such comfort in our familiar opinions, and I’m not talking only of mangoes!) But once the ingredients were assembled and left to get acquainted for a while in the fridge, right with my first bite I knew my old prejudice had to go. These flavors were so zippy and the cold temperature so refreshing I had to admit the salad was good. Very good. So good I ate it two days in a row for lunch, and then made some jasmine rice to accompany it for dinner. Even better! The sauce is light, slightly sweet and slightly hot, and after you dig into the salad and pour it over the rice, you too may have to admit that sometimes the old prejudices just don’t serve.
SUMMER MANGO SALAD
Serves one. Recipe may be doubled or even tripled. You’ll want to: it’s that good.
1. Gently mix together the following:
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1-3 mangoes, cut into bite-size chunks
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 TBS mint, finely chopped
1 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped
2. Assemble the dressing: (NOTE: this makes more than enough dressing for both the salad and to pour over the rice.)
1/2 cup bottled mango juice or “nectar” (available in most supermarkets. I like the Hero brand)
1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 pinches clove powder (if you only have whole cloves, you can smash them with the flat side of a knife blade, or use a mortar and pestle)
1 tsp coriander powder (see note above re: making clove powder)
salt and pepper to taste (don’t skimp!)
3. Pour some of the dressing over the salad. Be careful not to saturate it. Let it sit while you make the jasmine rice (readily available, just follow package directions.) When the rice is done, the flavors in the salad will have blended and you will be ready to serve.
Any leftover salad can be eaten refrigerated over the next few days, or diced smaller into salsa and served with tortilla chips, or served over grilled fish. Extra sauce is a perfect marinade for chicken or pork.