Earlier this summer, one of the Bon Appetit men* I follow on Twitter tweeted that one of his favorite summer dishes was mango seasoned with a bit of lime juice and a sprinkle of cayenne. I happened to have mango in the fridge that day, so I instantly tried it.
Whoever it was, he didn’t steer me wrong—those three basic ingredients made for a simple but amazing snack or light dessert. The tart acid from the lime juice offset the sweet mango and actually seemed to thicken the mango’s own juice to make a nice little sauce. I’m not exactly sure what science was involved in that, but there was probably some kind of interaction between the acid in the lime and the pectin in the mango. The heat from the cayenne rounded everything out, taking it from basic sliced fruit to a complex, sophisticated dish.
With that in mind, I developed the salad below to play off that flavor combination. Adding buttery avocado and a bit of red onion makes the mango side dish-worthy, and it’s a great complement to barbecue-sauced meats, if you’re looking for a new salad for any Labor Day picnics.
* Is it me or do men totally run that magazine? Not that I object, because it seems to be working. Anyway, I’m pretty sure it was either Adam Rapoport or Andrew Knowlton.
1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced into half-inch cubes
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into half-inch cubes
¼ of a medium red onion, sliced with the grain in thin strips
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
Combine the mango, avocado, and onion in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and water. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Pour dressing over salad and toss very gently to combine. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.