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Plenty o’mangoes: Round 1

We agreed the first mango would be ritually decheeked, sliced open and surrendered to our ravenous gullets without ornamentation, but once our initial mango lust was slaked, we agreed to pursue a slightly more sophisticated preparation. M soaked some black beans, while I prepared a batch of fresh feta and left it to drain overnight. I salted it through the day, and then it was ready to top this: a mango and black bean salad.

Two bowls of fresh mango salad!

I’m so excited.

Now, maybe you live somewhere where mangoes are constantly abundant. Where the cry is less likely to be “oh boy, mangoes!” and more likely to be “oh shit, mangoes!” Maybe you’ve already explored this nectar-rich flesh in all its possible permutations and so the prospect of a savoury mango dish is ho hum. But I do not live somewhere like that. I live somewhere where these precious orbs are as rare as a penguin’s merkin and so I’m going nuts over the prospect of savoury dishes featuring them.

The bright and slightly tangy flavour of a ripe mango pairs well with tangy salad dressing: you want something with enough acid (vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, whatever) to bring out the brightness, but not overwhelm the sweetness. M tossed together a salad dressing with canola oil, lime juice, a dash of sugar, roast and ground cumin, and ground cinnamon. Shake it all up!

I love onion in salads, but I love it even more if the onion flavour doesn’t stick with me for the rest of the day. To offset that sulfuric sharpness, soak your onion in an acid for a while. It only takes half an hour or so to really make a big difference, but the longer the better. M made a simple pickle by slicing some red onion and shallots, and soaking them for the day in a mix of apple cider vinegar, water and sugar. By the time we were putting the salad together, they were amazing.

The black beans were cooked in the pressure cooker and then tossed with a small head of curly endive; then the onions and the salad dressing. We plated this and then topped it with the long slices of fresh mango, letting the mango juice run down through the rest of the vegetables. Ooooh man. Then some sliced avocado and cubes of fresh feta (super fresh! I finished making it that very day!) and black pepper to top.

Mango salad, close-up

And I refuse to even try to hide it.

Is it any wonder I’m excited? Seriously, I’m about to lose control over here. This was an amazing dinner: filling and nourishing, with loads of protein and fibre; sweet and tangy and salty and crunchy; and I don’t mind admitting there was a frisson of indulgence. Mangoes AND avocadoes in one meal? GETOUTTAHERE!

Wait, what? There’s more coming? My lord…did I die in that drive home from Sydney? Am I…in heaven?

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