Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mango Love

I walked into India Bazar looking for exotic produce on Monday, knowing full well that they get fresh deliveries on Thursdays, so the pickings would be slim. And slim they were indeed--the bitter melon was battered, pale and a little moldy, the bhindi and mooli both limp and sad, and even the red onions were soft and sprouting. But then (ooh baby) I saw this box of radiant mangoes.

I could tell just by looking at them that they were perfectly ripe at that moment--except for a single very green one--and I had to have them, especially at the ridiculous price of nine dollars for the lot (nine bucks? are they nuts?). That's the other reason I shop there--Indian prices!

Well, I knew I would have to use them up right away because they wouldn't last, so I cut one up and squeezed lime juice on it (that one didn't last two minutes). My wife and son each had one, too. Then I took all but the green one and made sorbet (even that's gone now, just two days later). The lone survivor went into a salad (green mangoes are fantastic that way), and that was that. I love mangoes.

For the salad, I cut thin julienne strips of the green mango, red pepper, fennel and scallions. I made a dressing similar to the one for "Green Curry Salad" from Speed Vegan, featuring Thai green curry paste, garlic, brown rice vinegar, lime juice and peel, and a fistful of fresh basil leaves, blasted in the blender. My wife harvested some of her "a little past micro" baby lettuces, and a few of her micro-broccoli greens.

I tossed the cut vegetables and some hydroponic watercress with most of the dressing, piled it on beds of the baby lettuces, and threw on some halved macadamia nuts and the micro broccoli greens. Then I drizzled the last of the dressing over each serving. The flavors were pretty spectacular, frankly.

The sorbet was a lot quicker to make. I just whipped five mangoes in the Vitamix with a half-cup of fresh lime juice and a quarter-cup of Essencia (a delicious orange muscat dessert wine from California). Then I made a syrup with 3/4 cup each of evaporated cane juice and water and added that.

"Horrors!" you may be thinking, "Sugar?" Well, yes, in fact, and here's why: I've come to realize that unless you have diabetes or hypoglycemia or some other sugar-sensitive condition, you're better off with honest cane sugar than agave (read all about this in my March 9th post). Regular white sugar, as you may know, is processed with bone char, a by-product of the meat industry (just lovely, huh?). My preferred alternatives at the moment are maple syrup and palm sugar--both too strong tasting and with too dark a color for this application. Once in a while a little sugar won't kill you (with the caveats I mentioned).

Back to the mango sorbet. After combining the ingredients, I let it chill in the refrigerator and then froze it in my ice cream maker. Then I served it with some strips of mint.

Sorbet is incomparably silky and ethereal when it's freshly made, and mango sorbet is truly sublime.

As I said earlier, this didn't last any longer than the whole mangoes or the salad. My son is a mango fan just like the rest of us, and he has friends.

I've said this already, but I love mangoes. They are among the sexiest foods imaginable.

1 comment:

  1. i agree! mangoes are amazing and sooo versatile! They add so much to a dish that other fruits can't even compare...