Mangoes are going 10 for $10 at my local grocery, and I’m stocking up.
I love these tropical fruits. When I lived in South Florida, colleagues lucky enough to have mango trees in their yards brought in bagfuls of the greenish/reddish ovals. “Take a couple,” they’d beg. “Take a dozen.
Not so in the Mid-Atlantic, where mango prices run in the $2.50 to $3 price range. (That’s $2.50 to $3 per mango … quite a shock when we first moved here.)
But oh, January. Mangoes burst out of their bins (all those South Florida fruits looking for a home, no doubt), begging bargain-hunters to snap them up.
That’s what I’m doing.
Mangoes pack a powerful nutritional punch. Eat just one, and you’ll get 76 percent of your recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C and 25 percent of your RDA for Vitamin A.
They’re versatile, too: You can cook with them or serve them raw; put them in desserts or show off their savory side in sauces and salsas.
Their only drawback? They’re a bear to eat if you don’t know what you’re doing. Never bite into a mango like an apple. You’ll end up with mango juice running down your chin and long strands of fibrous strings hanging from your teeth. Instead, keep the mango peeled and cut each side away from the long, cylindrical pit. Using a sharp paring knife, you can then cut the flesh in a diamond pattern. This simple action cuts through the mango’s stringy fibers, making it easy to scoop the fruit out with a spoon.
Here are my favorite ways to eat mango. Try one or two (or three or four). Mango madness — at least in the Mid-Atlantic — won’t last much longer.
- Mango Salsa: Cube raw mango and mix with drained black beans, diced red onion, minced jalepeno and minced garlic. Drizzle with equal parts olive oil and red wine vinegar; season with salt, pepper and cumin seeds. Serve with fish, chicken or tortilla chips.
- Mango Salad (Savory): Peel the mango and cut it into slices. Toss with arugula and baby spinach; add finely chopped prosciutto and crumbled feta cheese. Dress with your favorite vinaigrette.
- Mango Salad (Sweet): Toss diced mango with orange slices and grapes. Toss in finely minced mint, a dash of cinnamon and a teaspoon or so of orange blossom water. Eat alone or spoon over ice cream.
- Mango Sauce (Savory): Film a skillet with olive oil, then saute diced mango, diced onions and chopped garlic until the mango breaks down. Add chopped, seeded jalepeno peppers and finely minced oregano. Squeeze in the juice of a lemon and spoon over pan-seared fish or roasted meats.
- Mango Sauce (Sweet): Melt butter in a pan, then saute mango pieces with a tablespoon of brown sugar, some grated fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick. When the mango has broken down, remove the cinnamon stick. Spoon the sauce over chocolate cake. Better yet, beat it into some mascarpone or cream cheese, then fill a baked tart shell with the mixture.