June is one of the best months to be in key west. The island quiets down, the water is warm and the days are filled with extra hours of sunshine. It is bloom time on the island and the streets are bursting with color. Royal Ponciana trees and Bougainvillea blossoms are absolutely spectacular. The arrival of June also means the mango trees are loaded with ripe, juicy fruit. Never missing an opportunity to celebrate, it is no surprise Key West hosts a Mango Mania Festival at the end of the month. Of course this is after the Key Lime Festival but before the Lobster Fest!
I am fortunate to have a magnificent mango tree gracing our property producing hundreds of fruits. I say fortunate, because there is nothing on earth as delicious as a mango still warm from the morning sun. If you have never had a fresh mango, I would compare the taste difference of a store bought tomato, to one picked fresh from the garden. Succulent, juicy, with an undertone of coconut, these brightly colored mangoes are beyond delicious. This low calorie superfood is high in fiber, vitamin C and A. Mangoes also contains folate, B6, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin E.
Each day I walk around our tree picking up any fallen mangoes and carry them in my hat to the kitchen. I can hardly wait to cut one open and enjoy slices of fresh mango on the patio with my morning coffee . This past morning while gathering a few stray mangoes outside my gate, I offered a few of the fruits to an older gentleman who was passing by. I had a delightful conversation with this man, who shared his childhood recollections of the island. Mangoes can truly bring unexpected pleasures.
I hope you take advantage of the fruit while it is in season and might be inspired to try a few of my favorite recipes.
MANGO TANGO CAKE 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 egg, beaten 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons Olive Oil 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 ripe banana, mashed 1 cup of mango, finely chopped 1/2 cup of peaches, finely chopped 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons flaked coconut Lightly grease and flour a 9x1 1/2 inch round baking pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the 1 1/4 cup flour, the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg and set aside. In a small mixing bowl stir together the egg, yogurt, oil, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy). In a small bowl toss the chopped mango and peaches with 1 tablespoon flour; gently fold that mixture into the batter. Mix in mashed banana. Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle coconut over batter in pan. Bake in a 350 F oven for 45 minutes. Serve warm. Can be prepared in muffin tin lined with paper liners. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
MANGO SALSA Makes about 2 cups 2 mangoes, diced 1/3 cup diced red onion 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced (more or less to taste) 3 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, chopped juice of 1 Lime Salt to taste Optional: 1 avocado, diced Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve. Great on grilled fish or chicken or served with tortilla chips.
Makes about 1 cup
½ cup sugar 1 mango, chopped 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger 1/2 to 1 habanero pepper, seeded and finely minced ( more or less to taste) 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce 2 teaspoons dark rum 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice 1/4 teaspoon orange zest 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary Optional garnish : Fresh chopped cilantro, or rosemary and thyme sprigs This glaze works well on grilled chicken, pork or fish. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sauce cooks down, about 10 minutes. Place sauce in food processor or use an immersion blender to puree. Set aside a small bowl of glaze to serve along side meat after it has been cooked. Because of the high sugar count in glaze, it can easily burn before your meat is cooked. To avoid this, lightly coat the meat or fish before grilling. When meat is almost cooked, liberally brush on more glaze and continue cooking the last few minutes. Discard any unused glaze that has touched meat. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro, or a sprig of fresh rosemary and thyme .