Finding the perfect mango at the grocery is an art, but one that is far easier to master this time of year. Here in Asheville, Florida Mangoes are in season from May to September and you can find a few different varieties. We see everything from the yellow Champagne mangoes that are more elongated and creamy to the large fat rounded Kent and the sweet and juicy Tommy Atkins varieties. Mangoes when they’re ripe don’t need much to bring out their flavor, but here are a few ways that I love to prepare them.
A simple Mango Blueberry salad on a bed of lettuce is a lovely accompaniment to my buttery, lemony Dutch Babies at breakfast time. Just peel and dice (a large dice) the mangoes and combine with an equal amount of fresh washed blueberries. Sprinkle with a little sugar. I find most recipes call for way more sugar than you need. Add lemon zest and a little bit of lemon juice and orange juice, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Another way to dress up mangoes for breakfast or dessert is layered into a muesli fruit parfait. The muesli is made the night before. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add 3/4 cup of milk and 1 1/4 cups of rolled oats. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning it will have a thick pasty consistency. Chop strawberries, 2-3 large berries per person. Wash enough fresh blueberries for two small handfuls per person. Peel and dice one mango and then start to assemble. These look lovely in champagne flutes. Put a handful of the chopped strawberries in the bottom of each glass and layer a few of the blueberries, then a few chunks of mango. About half the glass should be filled. Put a spoonful of the muesli on top of the mangoes and a little whipped cream on top of that. Layer again starting with the strawberries and ending with the muesli. Top each with whipped cream and serve.
For a savory meal mangoes pair well with grilled chicken. I like to top grilled chicken with a mango salsa. Marinate 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts in 2 Tbs. tamari sauce mixed with 2 Tbs. honey. Let it sit in a glass bowl while you prepare the salsa. Combine a peeled chopped mango with 2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lime juice, 2 Tbs. diced onions and 3 heaping teaspoons of ground coriander. Grill the chicken for 7 minutes or until done. We use wood lump charcoal with a handful of mesquite chips to give it a smoky flavor. Top with salsa.
Another great way to serve mangoes and chicken together is in a grilled mango chicken salad. Crush a large clove of garlic into a 1 quart Ziploc freezer bag. Add 1 tsp. of fresh squeezed lime juice and 1 tsp. of olive oil. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp. of ground cumin then put 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts in the bag, seal and squish around to mix. Let the chicken marinate while you prepare a salad of mixed greens, red, yellow or orange diced peppers, cucumber and any other favorite fresh vegetables. Toss with a slightly sweet vinaigrette. I like to combine balsamic and raspberry vinegars and then add a little pomegranate juice and honey. Add just enough olive oil that the dressing emulsifies when whisked. Grill your chicken, slice it and top the salad with the chicken slices and peeled, sliced mango. Perfect for a hot summer night’s supper.