FMC Mango Salsa

This is the culimation of all the cooking from this week; the Slow-Cooked Cuban Pork with FMC Mango Salsa and steamed jasmine rice on flour tortillas.  And when you eat this life is very, very good.

This is the culmination of all the cooking from this week; the Slow-Cooked Cuban Pork with FMC Mango Salsa and steamed jasmine rice on flour tortillas. And when you eat this life is very, very good.

I am about to become your best friend forever because I am sharing with you the formula for the easiest and most delicious side dish ever, ever, ever.  It is so good that it deserves a ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Amen’.  My FMC Mango Salsa has its roots in desperation, as most of my favorite recipes do.  One day many moons ago I had grilled a pork tenderloin and planned on accompanying it with a fresh pineapple salsa.  Much to my chagrin I had neglected to put into my grocery cart the crucial pineapple.  There were mangos (goodness knows why I had bought mangos and forgotten pineapples) in my fruit bowl so I did what cooks through the ages have done in times of need.  I substituted.   And woah baby, did I hit pay dirt.  Now I know I’m not the first person to make mango salsa and I sure won’t be the last, but it was a revelation.  The combination of sweet and soft mango cubes with the hot and fruity jalapeno, the pungent red onion, the hot garlic and the tangy lime juice took away my breath.  I practically forgot about the gorgeous grilled tenderloin sitting on my cutting board.  And I surely forgot about the pineapple. *

*Don’t get me wrong.  Fresh pineapple salsa is fabulously delicious, too.  But the unexpected deliciousness of the mango substitute that day quickly dispelled my disappointment at missing the pineapple.   I still loves the pineapple salsa, folks, but given the choice between the two I’d take the mango any day of the week…

If you’ve never tackled a mango, don’t panic.  I can help you.  There are some pretty good tricks (and tools) to get you through the job with fingers and mind intact.  If, however, the thought of choosing and cutting a perfect mango is enough to deter you from trying this recipe and give you the palpitations I have another solution.  Buy a bag of cubed, frozen mango.  In our moderately well-stocked grocery store about 45 minutes from here they carry frozen mango cubes in the ‘Goya’ foods section of the freezers.

But before we get to cutting the mango we need to talk a bit about choosing a good mango.  The perfect mango for our salsa is still firm, but yields a little to gentle pressure from the thumb.  In other words, when you press gently on the mango your thumb shouldn’t poke through the mango skin and cause a geyser of juice to shoot out.  If you look at the skin, there may be a couple wrinkles here and there, but it should be mostly smooth and firm to the touch. And mangos are, in my opinion, easier to pit and cut when they’ve been chilled a bit.

And while we’re talking tips, let me give you a heads-up on fresh jalapenos.  You should probably wear gloves when working with them unless you have impervious asbestos skin.  Jalapenos, on the hot-pepper-pain scale, are relatively low, but all the same…  It’s not so much your hands you want to worry about.  Let me put it this way.  The Evil Genius and I bought a half- bushel of hot peppers we couldn’t identify at the farmer’s market once when we were first married.  We went home, sliced them and boiled them in vinegar to can for later use.  I wore gloves.  He did not.  We were drinking a lot of water while doing the job, hot work and all.  After a couple hours he had to go to the bathroom.  Sadly, this is where not wearing gloves came back to bite him.  Almost literally.  His, er, manly parts were in pain for two days.  Turns out the peppers were serranos.  And yes, they’re much hotter than jalapenos, but remember this…  Each individual hot pepper varies in how much punch they pack.  And if you’re not used to working with them it’s better to be safe than sorry.  If you don’t have gloves (or forget to use them)  follow these simple precautions to keep the burn from getting too bad on your skin.  Before washing hands with hot water, wash first with cold water and soap.  This will keep the pores of your skin from opening up and drinking in the oil from the hot peppers that gives the burning sensation staying power.  Follow the cold water wash with a hot water wash.

If you are worried about the heat and your tongue, be careful to remove all the seeds and membranes when you seed the peppers.  Those are the storage units of heat in any hot pepper.  Once those are gone, a jalapeno is mild and fruity.  Don’t fear the jalapeno.  If you’re unwilling (or medically unable) to go the hot pepper route you can always replace the minced jalapenos with minced bell pepper.

Lest it should escape your notice, this is so healthy and diet friendly it’ll make you sick.  Fruit, vegetables, herbs and salt; that’s all there is.  There’s not a lick of fat in it. And what can this not accompany?  Over rice, with spicy saucy black beans, next to grilled or slow-cooked pork (and here), fish (especially fish), chicken and beef, FMC Mango Salsa is enough to make your tongue slap your brain silly.  It almost makes me weep.  Or was that the onions?

Enough jawing, let’s get cooking.

For a printer-friendly, photo-free version of this recipe, click here!

FMC Mango Salsa.  Amen.

Ingredients:

Missing from this picture?  Black pepper.  Fresh ground, please.

Missing from this picture? Black pepper. Fresh ground, please.

  • 2-3 fresh mangos (depending on how much you want to make)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 3 fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large handful of fresh cilantro, washed and allowed to air-dry (Hate cilantro?  Use fresh parlsey!)
  • The juice of one lime or orange (or, lacking fresh limes or oranges, 1/4 cup bottled lime or orange juice)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Cut the mango halves away from the pits.  Discard the pits. The quickest way to do this is with a mango cutting from OXO,

The goal is to liberate the mango pit from the mango halves.  You can do this with a knife if you don't own this gadget. This little gizmo is supposed to make mango work easier.  The jury is still out on whether or not it's worth the $8.00.  It kind of mangles the tail end of the mango.  Mangled mango is mildly miffing. My bad.  Mind much?

The goal is to liberate the mango pit from the mango halves. You can do this with a knife if you don't own this gadget. This little gizmo is supposed to make mango work easier. The jury is still out on whether or not it's worth the $8.00. It kind of mangles the tail end of the mango. Mangled mango is mildly miffing. My bad. Mind much?

…but you can do this with a knife and a little attention to detail.  The mango pit is a slightly flattened oval that runs in the same direction as the slightly flatter sides of the mango.  Use a knife to cut slabs from the sides (avoiding the pit) of the mango and proceed as directed.  Use a paring knife to get whatever mango flesh you missed from the pits afterward.  To make mango cubes most easily you can:

First slice through to the skin, taking care not to slice THROUGH the skin, at 1/4"-1/2" intervals from end to end.

First slice through to the skin, taking care not to slice THROUGH the skin, at 1/4"-1/2" intervals from end to end.

Now turn the mango 90 degrees and slice the same way across the cuts you've already made.  You'll end up with a nice mango grid.

Now turn the mango 90 degrees and slice the same way across the cuts you've already made. You'll end up with a nice mango grid.

Cup the mango on either side and use your fingers to push up from the underside, inverting the mango.

Cup the mango on either side and use your fingers to push up from the underside, inverting the mango.

Use your paring knife to cut the mango cubes away from the skin.

Use your paring knife to cut the mango cubes away from the skin.

This is what the leftover mango skin looks like.  No matter how careful I am there's always a wee bit of mango left on the skin.  I like to take a break from cookery and gnaw on it a bit.  Do whatever you want.

This is what the leftover mango skin looks like. No matter how careful I am there's always a wee bit of mango left on the skin. I like to take a break from cookery and gnaw on it a bit. Do whatever you want.

Now on to the onions:

Slice an onion half from root to tip at regular intervals, leaving the hairy root end intact to hold the whole works together.  There is a method to the madness...

Slice an onion half from root to tip at regular intervals, leaving the hairy root end intact to hold the whole works together. There is a method to the madness...

Turn the onion 90 degrees and slice across the cuts you already made.  Voila!  Instant dice.  And don't throw away those root tips.  Stash them in a bag dedicated to the purpose in your freezer.  Toss them in when cooking beans, or making stock, or...

Turn the onion 90 degrees and slice across the cuts you already made. Voila! Instant dice. And don't throw away those root tips. Stash them in a bag dedicated to the purpose in your freezer. Toss them in when cooking beans, or making stock, or...

Add the diced onions and minced garlic to a medium-sized mixing bowl.

I like recognizable pieces of garlic in my salsa.  If you're squeamish about that you can grate the garlic on a small-hole grater instead or beat it up with a garlic press.  Follow your preference!

I like recognizable pieces of garlic in my salsa. If you're squeamish about that you can grate the garlic on a small-hole grater instead or beat it up with a garlic press. Follow your preference!

Let’s add some heat.  Stem, halve, seed and mince your jalapenos.

Wear gloves when working with jalapenos, especially if you plan on wiping your eyes or picking your nose in the next 24 hours. Cut the stem ends from the peppers.

Wear gloves when working with jalapenos, especially if you plan on wiping your eyes or picking your nose in the next 24 hours. Cut the stem ends from the peppers.

Cut in half from tip to end.

Cut in half from tip to end.

If you start the spoon at the tip of the jalapeno, the seeds and most of the membranes should come out easy as can be.

If you start the spoon at the tip of the jalapeno and move back toward the stem end, the seeds and most of the membranes should come out easy as can be.

Cut thin, evenish slices from tip to end. Don't sweat this too much.  We're just slicing peppers, people.

Cut thin, evenish slices from tip to end. Don't sweat this too much. We're just slicing peppers, people.

Pretty, no?  A stack like this of your julienned jalapenos will be much easier to dice evenly.

Pretty, no? A stack like this of your julienned jalapenos will be much easier to dice evenly.

See how easy that was?

Almost there...

Diced jalapeno peppers?  Check.

Diced jalapeno peppers? Check.

Pull the cilantro leaves from the stems.

Gently pull the leaves away from the stems. Make a pile of stems and a pile of leaves.

Gently pull the leaves away from the stems. Make a pile of stems and a pile of leaves.

Time for my broken record routine.  Don't throw away those cilantro stems.  Stash them in a zipper top bag in your freezer.  They can add so much flavor to sauces and beans.  Having them in the freezer is like money in the bank.  Except tastier.

Time for my broken record routine. Don't throw away those cilantro stems. Stash them in a zipper top bag in your freezer. They can add so much flavor to sauces and beans. Having them in the freezer is like money in the bank. Except tastier.

Rough chop the cilantro and add to the onions and garlic along with the mango cubes and diced jalapenos.  Sprinkle with salt.

Measuring the salt ultra-scientifically by eyeballing it...

Measuring the salt ultra-scientifically by eyeballing it...

Add lime juice and toss.

fmcmangosalsa-201

fmcmangosalsa-211

Serve immediately.

Just moments after snapping this picture I stuck my face in this bowl.

Just moments after snapping this picture I stuck my face in this bowl.

This is best eaten the day it was made for the sake of texture, but it’s perfectly delicious out of the fridge the next day.  And if you’re looking for a milder bite from the onions and garlic, you may want to deliberately refrigerate it for a day before serving.  Beware, though…  This is seriously addictive.  Consider yourself warned.

Food for thought…

If you end up with a bad mango and live miles from civilization, you can save the salsa by adding some cold, cooked plain black beans and some pieces of orange segments.  Absolutely still excellent and saves you a trip into town.  Unless of course you live in town.  Then do whatever you want.

If you end up with a bad mango and live miles from civilization, you can save the salsa by adding some cold, cooked plain black beans and some pieces of orange segments. Absolutely still excellent and saves you a trip into town. Unless of course you live in town. Then do whatever you want.

On deck for Tuesday: Homemade Tortilla Chips Two Ways

In the hole for Wednesday:  Savory Stuffed Meal-In-One Bread or a Decadent Dessert- You choose!

Comments

  1. says

    mmmmmmn i love mango salsa. i include cucumber in mine (because i love cucumber), but i’ve never considered using orange… might try that next time. thank you for sharing ^_^

    p.s. i am going to try cutting onion that way, i usually end up with all different size bits

  2. Val says

    Great looking salsa! I found you on Food Gawker, and am having a great time checking out your recipes. LOTS of good food & tips!

    Thank you for sharing your recipes & photos ;o}

  3. Rebecca says

    Katy- The orange is a nice addition to it, but is totally optional! I just happen to prefer it that way.

    Val- Thank you! I’m glad you found me on Foodgawker. I love that site! I hope you enjoy your time here, too!

    Kevin- Thank you. It was! I ate nearly the whole thing myself. Should I actually admit that?

  4. Yvette says

    Great recipe! I am a southerner living in East Africa. We have mango trees all over our yard. Really! They fall off the trees and make the car alarms go off. This is great way to eat them. Now, I just have to make homemeade tortillas to make tortilla chip and flavor them with the limes in our yard!

  5. C4bl3Fl4m3 says

    I made this 2x now. The first time, I accidentally put in WAY too much salt. (Still learning to cook with salt… I know, sounds strange, but I never added it to my dishes before. It really can make a difference! However, cooking with coarsely ground sea salt is different than finely ground table salt.) The 2nd time it turned out great. Oh my goodness, did it turn out good. My only issue is it takes me FOREVER to get the mangos cut up. Is this just my poor knife skills? Or should I just invest in one of those mango cutters?

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