Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fresh Mango Salsa

This mango salsa recipe is fresh, zesty, and full of seasonal delights. Did you know that mangoes are in season right now? They were 2 for $1 at the grocery store (no appearance made at the farmer's market!) so I had to get some. Most of the time the mangoes at the store are either so unripe they're inedible, or so bruised and soft that eating them is a sloppy impossibility. But not this time of year!

The best part of my mago salsa experience was that when I got home from work that day, my neighbor had decided to leave me a little treat...

A jar of Vinegar Syrup infused with Strawberry and Peach. Like...vinegar vinegar? Oh yes. Its description belies its ambrosia-like taste...Tart, sweet, and with a delicious fruity complexity thanks to the use of two types of fruit, it's so good I could drink it straight. OH WAIT. I LITERALLY DID. Only about a half-teaspoon of it...but still! I can't wait to use some in a summer vinaigrette when I get greens from the market this weekend. It also is a perfect addition to....

Fresh Mango Salsa 
Served over spice-blackened chicken

First, assemble your ingredients.

I chose mango, red onion, lime juice, a jalapeno pepper, an avocado, the aforementioned vinegar syrup, some diced zucchini and summer squash, and some fresh parsley. This recipe is super customizable — you could use peaches or nectarines or even pineapple instead of mango; a serrano or (gasp!) habanero chile for more heat; you can de-seed and remove the jalapeno membrane for less heat; and of course if you don't happen to have strawberry-peach vinegar syrup you can use more lime juice instead. 

You need to cut the mango. Cutting mangoes is kind of a pain because they have a huge flat oval pit right in the middle. So what's a girl to do? 

Lay the mango on its stem end, then cut down either side of the center pit. 
Mango half, center pit, mango half...
Carefully score each edible half of the mango, then invert the peel.

Voila! Now, simply cut the mango chunks from the peel.

Now chop the other ingredients, except for the lime and the avocado.

Well, I had some leftover zucchini and summer squash, so I chopped that up and added it in too. You could also use cucumber.
I also added about 3 T chopped fresh parsley; you could use cilantro as well (I just didn't have any).

Toss all of the chopped ingredients together in a medium bowl, then squeeze over the juice of 1 lime. Taste, and add more lime juice and some salt to balance the flavors. Follow your tongue on this. At this point, I also added a half tablespoon of my delicious vinegar syrup. 

Now cover this, and let it sit for about an hour in the fridge. It will get spicier over time, and the flavors will really have a chance to meld.

Right before serving, give it a stir and add 1 large-diced avocado. Did you know that the American Heart Association Dietary Guidelines recommend that 30% of your daily calories come from unsaturated fat? Avocados are a cholesterol free way to help fulfill that requirement (and 1 half avocado only has 160 calories), while also getting a serving of fruit that is chock full of vitamin k, vitamin c, fiber, and potassium. 

Now toss all of the ingredients together so that the avocado gets coated in lime juice — this will prevent it from browning. 

And serve over spice-blacken chicken (or any spicy, grilled food — pork loin or flank steak would be great here!)

Spice Blackened chicken with mango salsa, brown rice pilaf with brocolli, and mixed baby kale

Stay tuned...there is a mighty fine-smelling dish cooking up in my oven right now that I'll probably post about tomorrow!

Full Recipe
Fresh Mango Salsa

1 mango, large dice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded if desired, small dice
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 zucchini, peeled and diced
1/2 summer squash, peeled and diced
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1-2 limes
salt to taste
1 avocado, diced

Add first 6 ingredients to medium bowl; toss with time juice and add salt to taste. 
Cover and let sit in fridge for an hour. Add avocado, toss, and serve over grilled or roasted meat or with chips. 

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