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by Louise Fiszer & Jeannette Ferrary

Somewhere there are people who do not always have to take a bath after they eat the mango. These are the people who know about the mango fork, a miraculous three pronged device that pierces the mango pit and holds the fruit steady so that one can eat it like a lollipop. But perhaps there is no real market for the mango fork since for many mango lovers the messiness is half the fun. The other half is the taste: slightly acidic, peachy sweet, lush, sensual, the essence of tropical. Ranging in size from 5 pounds down to the size of a plum, most mangoes have a custardy, pumpkin orange flesh.

Originating in Southeast Asia, this member of the cashew and pistachio family has always been one of India's major crops. The Portuguese were responsible for bringing the fruit to Europe and then the Americas, where, it is theorized, they exchanged it for pineapple. Nobody lost out on that deal.

Exotic though the mango might be, it varietal names are fairly prosaic: Tommy Atkins, Hadin, Keitt, and Palmer are those most commonly found in this country.


Some ardent mango fans believe the best recipe for mango is no recipe. For these purists, the only permissible transformations of a mango are sherbets, purees, ice creams, uncooked mousses, fresh fruit puddings and fruit salads. But it must be admitted, in whispered tones, perhaps that mangoes are also excellent cooked: as chutneys, nut breads, tortes and tarts, savory spreads and relishes. There is even a mango leather made from the juice itself. Well, maybe that is going a bit too far.

Consumer and Cooking Guide

Market Selection
Common varieties include the yellow-skinned Manila, the large red and green-skinned Tommy Atkins, the yellow and pink-skinned Haden, and the green-skinned Keitt. All varieties may be used interchangeably, the difference being the degree of juiciness and tartness. They should yield to gentle pressure and have unblemished, smoothed skins.

January through August

Ripen at room temperature, turning often. Refrigerate ripe fruit in a paper bag for up to 3 days.

Flavor Enhancers
Cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus juices.

1 pound mango = 3/4 cup diced fruit

Nutritional Value
High in Vitamin A and C.
150 calories per mango.

Curried Turkey Salad with Mango and Cashews
serves 6

4 cups cooked turkey, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup cashews, chopped
Lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In large bowl toss the turkey, lemon juice, mango, celery and green onion. In small bowl, combine mayonnaise with yogurt, curry and cumin. Toss with turkey mixture and cashews. Serve on lettuce leaves, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Grilled Swordfish with Mango Mustard Sauce
serves 4

4 3/4-inch thick swordfish steaks about 6 ounces each
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon mild mustard
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 large mango, peeled, seeded and pureed
2 tablespoons mild mustard
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Preheat the grill.
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Cook the garlic and shallot 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the vermouth and stock; boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Stir in the mango, mustard and cream and cook about 8 minutes or until sauce thickens. Taste for salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm. Blot fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine the oil and mustard and brush on both sides of fish. Grill about 4 minutes per side. Serve with mango sauce.

Mango Peanut Mousse
serves 8

4 medium mangoes, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 egg whites *
pinch salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Puree the mango with lime juice. Beat the egg and salt until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar until the whites stand in firm peaks. Fold the whites into the whipped cream; then fold the mango puree into the whites mixture with the crushed peanuts.

Spoon into eight individual dessert goblets and chill at least 3 hours before serving.

* This recipe uses raw eggs which can contain the harmful bacteria, salmonella.

Jeannette & Louise are Bay Area freelance food writers and the authors of several books including Sweet Onions & Sour Cherries and A Good Day for Soup.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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