Back to the 90s: Mango Salsa

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THIS IS HOW WE DO IT (I’m forever team Montell)

So, in an effort to become slightly less garbage in our eating habits, the Lovely One and I have caved and decided to get a weekly veg box. This is peak #middleclasswanker so apologies in advance, but good lord it really has been a bloody godsend. I was at that point where I thought I would become part broccoli and the knowledge that each day there is *something* green and pleasant to eat at home has 100% improved my life. There are lots of veg boxes out there, I’m currently using Abel & Cole‘s excellent and varied service, but am sorely tempted by the local LeeGreens service which delivers to my local pub (soooo tempted).

The joy and horror of a veg box is that you need to make sure you’re sneaking your veg into every meal or you’ll end up drowning in excess stuff. It was while I was making an indian-inspired leek pakora that I started thinking about the perfect accompaniment, and it struck me: MANGO SALSA. And I thought – bloody hell, Lewishambles, it’s been a while since you had that! 

Pondering the issue further I realised I’d last had mango salsa in around 2002 and it was a bit naff even then – mango salsa was one of those things you used to find slapped on the side of every fish dish in the 90s, usually in the company of one or all of the following on a menu (usually in a suburban gastropub):

  • A caesar salad with “blackened chicken” (still a thing in commuter hotels)
  • sun-dried tomato-based things (usually a bruschetta)
  • pesto* with everything
  • Ciabatta
  • Sea bass
  • goat’s cheese, usually in the form of a breaded hockey-puck, plonked on a salad
  • cranberry and brie filo parcels
  • Polenta

Come to think of it, a lot of italian-y, mexican-y, generosity of serving-size things were discovered in the 90s, it seems. I suppose after the horrors of nouvelle cuisine we were just glad for a bloody good feed!

Anyhoo, mango salsa was one of those things I just LOVED and still do, although these says it takes its place next to pico de gallo and the sorts of authentic tex-mex-style sauces which hipsters take much delight in telling you you’re doing wrong. And yes, I know that officially we’re still meant to sneer at tex-mex. And you know what? I DON’T CARE. In much the same way, I don’t care if mango salsa is naff. I like it, damn it!

The joy of a good mango salsa is that it’s not *meant* to be authentic because it’s not really from anywhere, it’s just delicious and refreshing and meant to be tasty on top of just about anything you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! It’s got an affinity with fish and grilled meat, but I like it with veggie pancakes, pakoras or anything indian-inspired, as it helps cut any fattiness or richness in a most delightful way.

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Mango Salsa

makes enough for 6 people

1 ripe mango (see step one below for more on this)

1/2 small red onion

1/2 – 1 whole fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped

a handful of coriander

juice of 1 lime

a small drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

  1. First of all, your mango should be in peak condition. By this, I don’t mean squidgy – it should be juicy and ready but still quite firm – think Buns-of-Steel sorts of firm if you’re going for a 90s reference. You’re looking to dice this quite finely so if you have a really juicy, sexy, god-damn-don’t-you-just-want-to-eat-me-over-the-sink kind of mango then frankly that’s what you should do with it. Find one you can actually cut into for a salsa.
  2. Dice this mother really finely. I mean REALLY. Ideally you’re looking for little tiny chunks which you could easily scoop with a nacho (and man if you’re into that I am DOWN, you get the chips and I’ll do the dip).
  3. Mince up your chilli as finely as possible and cut your onion into small dice as well. And when I say small, I mean it. Think “oh that’s quite small Lewishambles maybe this is enough” THEN CUT IT SMALLER THAN THAT.
  4. Shred up your coriander and stir it through, then squeeze over the lime juice, drizzle on the oil (and I mean really just a smidge, no more than a tsp or so – you just don’t want the fruit bits to stick together) and add salt and pepper. Stir and then leave to meld for about an hour, ideally two.
  5. You can leave this in the fridge but I like it cool rather than cold, so take it out about 30 min before you want to serve. This keeps about 2 days in the fridge but frankly if it lasts that long I will be giving you side eye.

Variations: I am told that you can add finely diced red pepper, avocado and even tomato to this salsa. Frankly I’m not in favour, and that’s because I like the juicy flavour of the mango on its own without any acidic tomatoes or crunchy peppers (both of which tend to go a bit flaccid in the lime juice), and I think the flavour of avo would get lost in here. Also, if you have tomato and avocado hanging around you should be making a guac, honey. You and I both know it. I am however willing to consider the addition of grilled pineapple – NO YOU’RE DISGUSTING SHUT UP. I’m serious – get yourself some pineapple, toast it on a grilled and chop it into your salsa – summertime game-changer.

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Check out this totally sweet poorly-lit photo of dinner! That’s leek and potato pakoras with mango salsa and quark.

 

*Aside time: I first encountered pesto when I was around 12 and my Dad had a job in London, and used to commute up and down to the south west. We went to stay with him in London for a treat, and as a well-intentioned “treat” he made pesto pasta with defrosted john young prawns for us. I still remember the acrid tang of the dried-basil-based goop from the jar, and it put me off for a considerable period!

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