Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Oh Mango

Dear Mango,
I love you.
I have always loved you.
I have loved you since Mercado Hidalgo days, when my mommy would slice you up and I would dine on your juicy bits, with a hot corn tortilla in my other hand.
I have loved you since Aunt Janey's Acapulco paradise, when we ate from her hybrid tree.
I have loved you since Princess K, when every morning Poppa Corn Man gave me my fill of garden mangoes to satisfy my pregnancy cravings.
I have loved you since Janice's MNO, when she served mango salsa, and I took the serving bowl as my own personal serving and was unrepentant.
I love sticky, juicy, slimy, stringy, messy mangoes.
Left to my own devices I devour them with my whole face, then hose off, floss, and reflect on my many blessings. Amen.

But sometimes I do things properly. Rarely. But sometimes.

A mango's color is not always the best indicator of ripeness. All golden yellow can be very ripe, but this one was red, yellow and green, and it was ripened to perfection. I test the firmness. It should not be hard. With a gentle push or squeeze you should detect softness, a little give. The second mango I sliced on this day was firmer than the first, and Max enjoyed it even more, because he likes fruit that is slightly tart.

And when I want to make a tidy and efficient presentation of a mango, I reach for one of these:

This is the Christmas present that my kitchen savvy, and dear friend, Karen, gave all of us MNO mom's one year... it is her tradition to favor us with a wonderful kitchen gadget, and this one has been my absolute favorite.

It is a peeler. It is the best. Look for this name: Messermeister.
Messmeister = The Best, no foolin'.

I think it has something to do with it being serrated, so do not mess with any others, because they do not work like the Messermeister.

Take a firm hold of your mango, and on one of the two wider sides peel away the skin. You can do this with knife, true, but you will lose a lot of fruit with the skin. And then you will have to get sloppy and unseemly and gnaw away at the precious fruit from the skin, because it is too delicious to toss on the compost pile. Get thee a Messmeister. Waste not the precious Mango!

Look how nicely the skin peels, how little of the fruit is taken off. And now you can just slice a big hunk of mango clear of the bone.

Cube these for snacking, or dice them for a fresh salsa.

Another method I like works nicely if I want to make a pretty presentation of the fruit, so taking the flip side of the same mango, I sliced it down right next to the bone, but without skinning it. This time the skin is going to hold the fruit in place.

Carefully, using a small knife, I score the fruit right down to the inside of the skin, then I go back across diagonally.

With the fruit scored in clever little squares, I am ready for the fun part. Push the skin up, so the the fruit inverts itself and separates along the cuts.

This looks very tropical festival when added to a fruit platter.


And the scoring trick? It works nicely on avocados too.
Score your halved avocado...

and then scoop! Now it's ready to top your hot corn tortilla, or to get chunked up
for guacamole.

Of course, if I am making guacamole, I don't fuss about the scooping, I just squeeze it all out in to the bowl. Dice some white onions, chop lots of cilantro and tomatoes, maybe squeeze a little lemon, salt, pepper, a dash of chile...

Oh Guacamole!
Dear Guacamole,
I love you.


judy in ky said...

Those look SO good! I am getting one of those Messmeisters!

Julie said...

My favorite are those flatter yellow variety that are on the tarter side (I can never remember what they're called.) My mouth waters just thinkin' about them!

The cut mango is beautiful on your colbalt blue plate!...Thanks for the tips!

Tracy said...

Delicious ode to mangoes and avocado, Natalie...mmm... Happy Days ((HUGS))

janet l moran said...

LOVE mango. I was 25 before I had one, sad huh. Glad to know about the Messmeister.

nikkipolani said...

I love your food tutorials :-)

Janece said...

I've always done the scoring trick on avocados. Didn't dawn on me to do it with mangoes. Wonderful and brilliant! Thanks Natalie!