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Much ado about Mangoes

Much ado about Mangoes

By RITA DeMONTIS, QMI Agency
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Refreshing fruit tastes of spring

By RITA DeMONTIS, QMI Agency

March 24, 2010

We're in the midst of mango madness.

These plump, delicious, exotic treats literally offer a mini fireworks of flavour in your mouth. Peak season is between March and July, when mango volume goes into overdrive.

They're everywhere -- in drinks, dessert and main dishes.

And let's not forget ice cream!

Mangoes are as sensual as they are sweet. No two are alike -- there are over 2,500 varieties in a range of sizes and skin colour. The aromatic mango interior can range from a satisfying crunch to something akin to smooth silk. From the creamy Ataulfo to the rich and aromatic Haden and Tommy Atkins varieties, fresh mangoes are the perfect energy choice for the whole family.

And they're so good for you. According to Elizabeth Schneider's Uncommon Fruits And Vegetables (Morrow), mangoes offer a superior source of 20 essential vitamins and minerals, and are an excellent source of fibre.

Bursting with antioxidants and high levels of potassium, eating just half a mango before exercising may help reduce fatigue and muscle cramping.

Research shows the bulk of the mangoes in North America come from Mexico and parts of South America. Right now Mexican mangoes are in peak production and available cross Canada.

Want to have a true taste of spring? Well, make it a mango moment and enjoy the following, courtesy of mango.org.

SEARED SCALLOPS WITH MANGO JICAMA SALAD

Note: A jicama is like a Mexican potato and is available at most grocery stores and supermarkets.

Dressing:
1/2 cup (125ml) sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup (50ml) lime juice
1 Tbsp. (15ml) lime zest

Salad:
2 mangoes, peeled and julienned
1 jicama, peeled and julienned
1/2 English cucumber, julienned and seeded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 sweet onion, julienned
1-1/2 lbs(750g) scallops
1 Tbsp. (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Garnish:
1/4 cup (50ml) chopped cilantro, optional

Whisk together sweet chili sauce, lime juice and zest. Set aside.

In bowl, toss mango, jicama, cucumber, red pepper, onion and half of the dressing. Set aside.

Pour remaining dressing over scallops. In non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook scallops until golden, turning once, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to warm plate. Add remaining dressing to pan and cook until slightly thickened.

Pour over scallops.

Divide salad over four plates and top with scallops. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Serves 4-6.

MANGO CAPRESE SALAD

This adaptation of an Italian favourite will surprise you how the mango sweetness strikes a perfect balance with the creamy buffalo mozzarella.

3 large, ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and sliced
8 oz. (225g) fresh Buffalo (or milk) mozzarella, sliced
2 Tbsp. (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt/fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/4 cup (50ml) fresh basil, cut into thin strips

Place sliced mango on a platter, alternating with slices of mozzarella. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with basil and serve with baguette slices.

Makes 6 servings.

MANGO ICE CREAM

Sinfully sweet and creamy, this easy-to-make mango treat is a divine springtime indulgence. Perfect served plain or with fresh seasonal berries.

3 cups (750 ml) chopped mango (about 2 mangoes)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) 35 % whipping cream

In blender, combine mango, sweetened condensed milk and cream; process until smooth.

Pour mixture into an 8-inch (20 cm) metal container, cover and freeze for 2 hours.

Remove from freezer and blend; cover and return to freezer. Leave mixture in freezer until it has an ice cream consistency, about 6 hours. Freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Serve in ice glasses with fresh mango wedges and seasonal berries.

Makes 8 servings.

MANGO MANPOWER

* Don't let colour fool you -- to determine ripeness, squeeze mango gently. They will become soft to the touch when ripe.

* Select a firmer mango if don't plan to eat it for several days.

* Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature. Never refrigerate mangoes before they are ripe. Mangoes will continue to ripen at room temperature, becoming sweeter and softer over several days.

* Whole, ripe mangoes may be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator.

* Mangoes may be peeled, cubed and placed in an airtight container in the fridge for several days, or in the freezer for up to six months.

- Mango.org

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