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Two Men and a Mango

Grilled Halibut with Two Men Mango Salsa


Last week my neighbor, Kurt Olson, Man #1 in this story, called and asked how I felt about mangos. I had to be honest. I told him I thought they were okay, but I never bought them because I wasn’t really sure how to cut them and I heard they had a weird seed in the middle and well…I just didn’t want to bother with something so difficult. 



Kurt insisted I come right over and taste a spectacular mango he had and visit with “Margie”. Marjorie Hall, the best neighbor I’ve ever had, will be 95 next July and is one of the happiest people on the planet. (You might know her, too. She owned Live Wire Cleaners from 1954-1988!)   


Kurt handed me a plate with beautiful cubes of mango and I have to admit…it was delicious. He told me this was no ordinary mango from, say Mexico. This was a Keitt Mango, grown right here in the Coachella Valley and available for only a couple more weeks at our Farmer’s Market. Could be a good blog, I thought, then his story got even better.


As I stood to leave Kurt gave me a mango and said, “Make sure you suck on the seed.” I looked at him, perplexed. “Do it over the kitchen sink,” he said. “It can be kind of messy.” I just nodded. “And make sure you wash it down with a shot of rum, or the whole freakin’ bottle if necessary!”  


I was half way out the door when he added, “Oh, and for God’s sake don’t down the mango seed – suck on it!” The door shut behind me and I thought I heard him say, “I think they may be poisonous.” 


Was he kidding? No. He wasn’t. Well, I have to admit, I did suck on the seed and it was quite good. But I had to pass on the rum since I didn’t have any. But next time, I think I’ll take him up on the idea. He was 3 for 3 in my book–the mango, the seed and no doubt, the rum.

Part Two. What to do with the mango? Salsa, of course! 


Enter Man # 2, my friend, Denny Freidenrich, the official mango salsa taster. In town, he’s known to be a “hot dog” man, but I thought he could handle the salsa job…and he did.


I lined up 5 bowls of cut mango and several ingredients thinking each bowl would have a different combination and Denny would do a blind test and let me know which was his favorite.

Interestingly, Denny’s favorite had cherry tomatoes, the one ingredient not in the photo because they were kind of an after-thought. That’s what’s so fun about cooking. You can try anything and surprise yourself. Really! Go big and go bold. 

Two Men Mango Salsa
Ingredients (I actually measured)
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least a half hour so flavors can marry.
 
Can be served on fish, chicken, pork or enjoyed with tortilla chips.
 
Wondering which ingredient versions didn’t make the grade with Denny? The one with chopped red onions and the one seasoned with cumin and chili powder. He did like the one with avocado and black beans, but this one with the red tomatoes photographed better. 
 
So when you make yours, have some fun and experiment. You’ll be surprised what you can do. And don’t forget to enjoy the seed!
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