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Alright, I know I said before that figs are my favorite fruit.  Well, I take that back.....since moving to Florida mangoes have moved up the rank to No.1.  I know what most of you are probably saying, "I don't know if I really like mangoes" or "I would never think to buy a mango".  Well, you are probably saying this because you haven't ever had a FRESH mango.  Like just ripened and hot from the sun.  From your backyard.  As far as I'm concerned, if you live in Florida and don't have a mango tree growing in your yard, you are doing yourself a disservice.  When you buy a mango from the grocery store, I don't think you get a choice of what variety you're getting.  You're just getting a mango that has been shipped in on a food truck.  In Florida, when buying a mango tree there are many varieties to choose from, depending on the size yard you have, to the flavor and how early they ripen.  Check out this helpful link to view the mango varieties.  I bought a Glenn Mango, mostly because it is fiberless (you don't want a stringy mango), and because it is a smaller tree.  Glenn mangoes have a very sweet, almost "peachy" flavor.  I got the tree a couple of years ago, so this was our second crop (if you could call it that).  We had 7 mangos........count it 7.  Tony and I knew it was 7 because once they started growing we checked on them everyday.  Last year we lost a couple to some opossums.  When you only have 7 mangoes a year, you are very selective on who you share them with.  Hopefully in the next few years we'll have an abundance and be able to share them with our neighbors. 

So, what do you do with a mango?  If you are like me, you stand over the sink and eat it like a barbarian....juice running down your chin with a happy grin on your face.  It is just that good.  Mangoes make a great salsa over fish.  Just chop it up with some jalapeno, red onion, cilantro and lime juice.  Since I only had one mango left, I decided to use it in a salad.  I think this simple salad was one of the best I ever made.

Baby Arugula and Mango Salad
large handful of baby arugula
1 mango, peeled and chopped
olive oil
rice vinegar
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of sugar
squirt of mustard
salt and pepper
fresh grated parmesan

In order to get to the edible flesh of the mango, you need to peel back the outer layer.  I find this is easy to do with a sharp knife.  The mango has a hard seed in the center.  I find it easiest to just start shaving off chunks around the seed.  Then chop the chunks into your desirable size.  I like a big bite, so mine stay large. 

Make the dressing directly in your salad bowl.  Add the olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, sugar and salt and pepper.  Whisk this together pretty well and adjust to your own preference.

 I love the bitter taste of baby arugula.  I think it balances out the sweetness of the mango.  The red pepper flakes add just enough heat.  Add fresh grated parmesan cheese, and that's it.  You're done.  You won't believe how much flavor comes out of that simple salad.

So hopefully at this point I've perked your interest to go out and try a mango.  Unfortunately, if you live up north, don't make your mind up completely until you've tried one straight off the tree. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Written by noreply@blogger.com (Christina) — March 01, 2014