As I stood in my kitchen the other day dreaming up ideas of Whole30 meals, mangos and avocados came to mind. Originally I pictured these long sliced avocados with slices of mango and freshly squeezed lime poured over them with a sprinkling of salt. I wanted to keep it simple.
The idea morphed into me standing in my kitchen looking out as my girls were playing in our "summer" weather in spring eating popsicles. They engrossed in their play, and I with mine yielding the chef's knife and paring knife as I concocted a salsa salad utilizing two of my favorite fruits. As I sat there paring off the remainder of the skin close to the seed, I looked at this jewel and quickly bit right in.
Growing up my dad was known affectionately for his deep love for fruit, which was clearly passed onto all of us kids. Subsequently, it has been transferred to my children (true mark of Bill Soto's descendants). Us kids would sit around the coffee table on a Sunday summer night watching my dad slice away the peel of the mango. Each peel quickly found its home in one of our hands. Then, as we tossed the eaten scraps into the garbage, we awaited the coveted seed to suck eat and suck any remaining mango.
There at my counter, I reminisced of those days to find myself resorting back to the ways of my childhood. My girls ran into the kitchen in similar fashion and I smiled. "Your Grandpa Soto would peel mangos for your Uncle Andrew and Uncle Willy and myself like this," as I cut through with the paring knife. "We would eat the mango from the peel. Do you want a peel?" I asked knowing full well the answer. As they devoured the remains, I began to get to the seed. Just like my father, "as a kid, this was my favorite part...the seed!," as I handed each of them a seed only to have it returned in annihilated fashion.
Food reminded me that day how it tells rich stories. It can take give us a bit of redemption in our less than redemptive history by giving us what was good amidst it. For me, it's mangos. This Mango-Avocado Salsa Salad is exactly that for me...and I have a feeling it's the beginning of those little hands story.
Mango-Avocado Salsa Salad (printable recipe)
This could easily be served by itself. However, I think it pairs exceptionally well with a piece of grilled meat. More specifically, carne asada.
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced, julienned, and minced
1/4 - 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 jalapeno, minced with seeds and stem removed
1 Tb fresh cilantro
Take your ripe mangos and slice off both sides as close to the seed as possible. Score the cut off mango into 1/2 inch squares by cutting across in one diagonal after the other. Then, cut crosswise one after the other until you're left with squares. Pull down the peel to expose the mango chunks so they are not touching. With either your hands or a paring knife, cut the mango squares from the skin. Put them into a medium bowl.
**You can get the rest of the mango off the skin, or do as I did and eat them with my kids.
Take your avocados and cut down the middle. Remove the pit by hitting it with the heel of a chef's knife. Using a towel to protect your hand not using the knife to hold onto the avocado to keep it sturdy, gently turn the pit with the chef's knife attached. Cut diagonal rows one way and then perpendicular the other way to make little squares. Take a spoon and scoop out the avocado. Add to the bowl of mangos.
Thinly slice radishes. I used a mandolin. Cut thin slices into juliennes then into a small dice.
Add the lime juice, salt, and radishes. Taste. If you would like more salt, add in small increments until it reaches your fancy. Same with the jalapeno. I only added a small portion of minced jalapeno, because my girls were going to be eating it. If you're not serving weak tongues, add more. Add your cilantro. Drizzle with avocado oil or EVOO. Stir it all up and serve with additional cilantro for garnish and leftover slices of radishes.