Unless you live in the southwestern U.S. — or even farther south, but for an English-language blog “southwestern U.S.” is a pretty safe bet — then it’s unlikely your grandmother ever made mango salsa.
For one thing, salsa didn’t really take off in the U.S. until the 1970s. For another, annual mango consumption in the U.S. was 0.05 pounds per person in 1970 vs. 2.01 pounds per person in 2004. So it’s statistically unlikely that your grandmother ever made mango salsa.
But to me “cooking like your grandmother” has never been about the specific recipes. Oh sure, there are a few classics that I include on general principle. (Pot roast for example.) It’s really about cooking from scratch, with fresh ingredients that you got at the market that day. And it’s not about fussy presentation, where you’re more worried about how it’s going to look than how it’s going to taste.
And, in the interest of full disclosure, the reason I did this specific recipe was for the Leftover Queen’s Royal Foodie Joust for May 2008. The full entry includes the chicken nachos, which will be coming up shortly. (Subscribe using the link to the right to get an update with the finished product.)
(Update:The chicken nachos are done.)
Now on with the show.
2 cups diced mango (about two whole mangoes)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ cup diced red onion (1 small or half a large one)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
¼ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
[Adapted from Epicurean]
If you don’t have a lemon zester, you can use the small holes on a cheese grater to grate the lime peel.
Don’t go too deep into the white part of the peel. Just get the green part from the outside.
Roll the lime around on the counter, or between your hands, to break up the pulp before cutting into it. Once you don’t feel any solid pulp inside, make a small cut near one end and squeeze all the juice out.
Add the garlic, salt, cumin and cardamom to the lime …
… and whisk them together.
Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems …
… and chop the leaves roughly.
Add the cilantro to the lime mixture and mix briefly.
Dice the mango.
Plan on getting a lot of juice on your hands, so use a knife with a non-slip handle if you have it. Otherwise your hands will be too slippery to take pictures of what you’re doing. (Which should only cause problems if you’re trying to write it up for a blog post like this one. :-/ )
Since I wasn’t able to get the pictures, I’ll refer you to this great page on three ways to cut mangoes (and one way to serve it without cutting it up).
Quarter the tomatoes and cut out the seeds and stem.
For a tomato sauce, you’d keep the seeds and process it all together. In a salsa, you just want the meaty part.
Discard the seeds, and dice the flesh.
Combine the mango, tomato and onion. This is about one part mango, one part tomato, and slightly less than one part red onion.
Add the lime dressing and cilantro and mix well. Remember the brown sugar you were supposed to add to the dressing and add it. (Oops. Should have done this ten pictures back.)
Toss lightly together and allow flavors to blend in the refrigerator for an hour or two before serving.
And that’s it.
[Note: I have no idea how long this will keep in the refrigerator. I’ve never had a batch last longer than two days before I ate it all.]