I have a secret. It is not a truth that I want to necessarily disclose, to have my friends look at me in disbelief with squinted eyes, pursed lips, upturned noses. The disquieting effects of silent communication are interruped by the inevitable question, an inquiring voice heavy with trepidation and mixed with disbelief asking me, "How long have you been doing this, Michelle?" If truth be told and my memory correctly serves, it has been my practice now for about six years, give or take a year.
Now mind you, this is not the type of secret that will bring down world governments, crash the stock market, or make Aunt Betty cry. I don't have an aunt, but whatever - you get the idea. I suppose the treasonous part of my action is compounded by passionate home cooks and chefs everywhere extolling the virtues of using only the freshest and most organic of ingredients (including me).
I might as well just come out and say it. Here it is. Are you ready? Okay... I use frozen mangoes in my fresh mango salsa. What did I just hear? Did you call me a heretic? All I can say is, try it, you'll like it. And, the best part is that you'll be able to prepare mango salsa year round to balance bold spicy flavors with the cooling sensation of sweet and tangy.
Here's my defense. Technically, fruits are picked and frozen at the peak of their seasons, and can be terrific choices in certain recipes. For example, when making berry liqueurs. Or, perhaps, when baking an Old Fashioned Berry Crisp. When making a cooked sauce, such as Cherries Jubilee, or fresh, such as mango salsa! Please don't limit mango salsa to only a dip for tortilla chips. The sunny condiment is divine on just about anything. Here's a few of my favorites: fresh grilled seafood, shrimp burritos, baked crab cakes, shredded beef tostados and tacos, carnitas, and mole rubbed turkey tenderloins. You'll find your favorites, too. You'll likely serve it to your friends. The question is... will you share your secret?
Michelle's Mango Salsa
For various get togethers, I routinely make three sauces that I serve in separate bowls or side-by-side in a three piece condiment serving set: mango salsa, salsa fresca and chimichurri. The three condiments are great together, but each flavor also stands well on its own. If I'm making the trio of sauces, it is probably a given that I'm making guacamole, too.
I buy a 24-ounce bag of peeled and frozen mango chunks. This recipe uses about 12-ounces, so you can either double the recipe for a large gathering, or save the remainder for another use, perhaps to blend up batches of Yummy Kombucha and Kale Smoothies.
If I'm in a hurry I will quickly mince the jalapeño and chop the red bell pepper. If I have time to spare, I will roast the peppers to mellow the flavors. Once, when I was in a jam, I swapped diced and drained pimientos for the bell pepper. If you are concerned about using a whole jalapeño, reduce the amount, or quickly pickle the jalapeño by marinating the minced bits in the fresh lime juice for 10-15 minutes before adding to the mangoes along with the other ingredients. Alternatively, you can mince store-bought pickled jalapeños, which are a staple in my refrigerator.
1/4 cup roughly chopped frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup pineapple juice or water
2 cups roughly chopped frozen mango chunks
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 jalapeño, raw or roasted, seeded and minced
a few dashes Tobasco™, or to taste
about 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
a few grinds freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
1/2 large red bell pepper, raw or roasted, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 a bunch) scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced into rounds
1 Tbsps fresh cilantro, minced, optional
1 Tbsps fresh parsley, minced
1. In a blender, mix the 1/4 cup chopped mangos and the 1/2 cup pineapple juice or water until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the next seven ingredients. Stir well. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed to hit the right notes of spicy, salty, sweet and sour.
3. Add the red bell pepper, scallions, fresh cilantro (if Linda is coming to dinner, omit it), and parsley. Mix well. This salsa will keep, covered and refrigerated, 3 to 4 days.