After three weeks of being on the road - first in California, then Miami, and then Las Vegas - I was really craving something light. Something healthy. Refreshing. Cleansing.
Not that I didn't enjoy to the fullest extent those fantastic soup dumplings, melt-in-your-mouth fatty tuna, or cavier topped dishes (more on that soon, I promise!). Not at all. But a girl can only do that for so long before her stomach and her mind get a little overwhelmed. Not to mention the belt buckle!
But wait. I remember a delightful dish that my mom taught me how to make when I was home in Ohio last October. This dish is great because it's made with green, unripened mangoes. Similar in concept to the green tomato, a green mango is just a really hard mango that has not ripen yet. And since it's winter, all of the fruit in the market is shipped from Mexico anyway, so they probably aren't "vine-ripen" by any extent.
This recipe works best with rock-hard totally unripen mangoes.
Using a peeler (or a knife), peel thin slices of mango into a bowl. You can see from the picture that some of these slices are yellow/orange. I made a mistake and picked out one mango that was a bit too ripe. Ideally, they would all be a pretty light shade. Add salt (about ½ tsp? - I didn't measure), and mix throughout. Let it sit for at least 15-20 minutes so that the water can come out.
See how the water is coming out? Drain off the liquid and squeeze the mango slices to make sure you get out as much water as possible. I actually drained it in a colander and then pressed on the mango slices a bit to squeeze out more liquid. It's similar to the way you would make a marinated cucumber salad.
Finally, toss with some sesame oil and cilantro, and salt to taste. That's it! It's so easy. And the flavors work surprisingly well together. If you use really raw mangoes, sometimes your guests will not even be able to guess what they are eating. It's crisp, tangy, fresh, slightly crunchy, and a perfect antidote to the heavy, buttery dishes from the holiday season.
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