Summer is waning and almost to an end. Nonetheless, we are still enjoying summer’s bounty while it is still available. This was a delicious salad full of fresh ingredients with a tropical flair.
We are still seeing mangos at the market although the yellow (Atuaflo) mangos are gone. Most of the mangos currently available are Haden mangos. Now, did you know there are over 50 varieties of mangos? There are but you will most likely find one of the six primary varieties of commercially available mangos with each one having a unique flavor and texture. The following is a list of the 6 primary varieties of commercially available mangos and their characteristics.
The Atuaflo mango is vibrant yellow in color with a sweet and creamy flavor with a smooth, firm flesh with no fibers. When ripe the skin turns to a deep golden color and small wrinkles appear when fully ripe. Their peak availability is March to July and Mexico is the primary source for Atuaflo mangoes.
The Francis mango grows on small farms throughout Haiti. It has a rich, spicy and sweet flavor with a soft, juicy flesh with fibers and a bright yellow skin with green overtones. When ripe the green overtones diminish and the yellow becomes more golden as it ripens. As with the Atuaflo mango its peak ripeness is May to July.
The Haden mango inspired the creation of a large-scale mango industry in South Florida; however, because of the impact of development and hurricanes the Haden mango is now primarily found in Mexico. It has a rich flavor with aromatic overtones and a firm flesh due to fine fibers with bright red color with green and yellow overtones and small white dots. When ripe the green areas of the mango turn to yellow. Peak availability is April and May.
Keitts mangos are popular in Asian cultures, where they are enjoyed in its mature-green stage or even as pickles. They have a sweet and fruity flavor with a firm, juicy flesh with limited fibers and a dark to medium green color, sometimes with a pink blush over a small portion of the mango. When ripe the skin stays green even when ripe. To determine their ripeness squeeze gently. The peak availability for Keitt mangos is August and September with the primary source being Mexico and United States.
Like the Haden mango, the Kent mango originated in Florida. Kents are ideal mangos for juicing and drying. Now, their primary source is Mexico, Ecuador & Peru. Kent mangos have a sweet and rich flavor with a juicy, tender flesh with limited fibers and a dark green color that frequently has a dark red blush over a small portion of the mango. Their peak availability is January to March and June to August. This is what we used for this recipe because it is what was available in the stores.
The Tommy Atkins mango is the most widely grown commercial variety coming into the United States. It is grown in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. It has a mild, sweet flavor and firm flesh due to fibers throughout. It has a dark red blush color that often covers much of the fruit with green and orange-yellow accents. Judging ripeness is difficult based upon color so you must squeeze gently to judge ripeness. It peak availability is March to July and October to January.
Once we found the mango, we noticed there were ripe coconuts available. What a treat! Baby Lady absolutely loves coconuts and they go beautifully with mangoes. Next, we found vibrantly fresh Gulf Coast Shrimp. Now we have a marriage made in heaven. How can you possibly go wrong with shrimp, mango and coconut? Throw in some avocado and a little orange and viola you are in Nirvana! If you are in the mood for a little tropical paradise before Fall is upon us, give this recipe a try. Make a little Mai Tai and you will immediately be whisked off to some tropical island with beautiful sunsets while the sound of the waves lapping at the shore are gently heard in the background. Absolute bliss.
- 2 large ripe mangoes (roughly 2 lbs), diced 1/2 inch dice
- 2 medium firm-ripe avocados (roughly 1 lb), diced 12/ inch dice
- 2/3 cup green onion, sliced thinly
- 2.3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh red chile (alternatively 1/2 tsp. dried red chile flakes)
- 1 lb shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and cooked
- 1 – 2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 orange, juiced and zested
- 1/3 cup fresh coconut juice
- 1 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp sesame seed oil
- pinch salt, or to taste
For the Vinaigrette
Get a fresh coconut and poke out eyes. Pour coconut juice into a bowl and set aside.
Place coconut into a plastic bag and throw onto driveway or other concrete surface to break it into manageable pieces to access the flesh.
Place coconut juice, orange juice and zest,oil and salt into a blender and blend. Set aside.
For the Salad
Season, peel and cook the shrimp in the oven at 350 F, roughly 4 minutes. Set aside to cool. Remember that the residual heat of the shrimp and the pan will continue to cook the shrimp so it’s OK if the shrimp are slightly under done when you remove them from the oven. Their residual heat will cook them the rest of the way.
Dice the mango and place in a bowl.
Add the chopped cilantro and sliced green onions.
Add the diced avocado
Now add the shrimp
Gently toss to incorporate, add chiles and 1/2 cup vinaigrette
Toss gently one last time to fully incorporate all the ingredient and plate on a bed of Bibb lettuce.
Top with freshly grated coconut. Enjoy!