Mango Salad with Red Onion and Cilantro, and How to Cut a Mango

One of my daughter’s favorite stories to hear is how we used to eat mangoes at lunch at our little school.


I think that she finds it very romantic that during mango season, we would not go home for lunch, nor would we bring lunch.  Instead, there were quite a few kids who would bring their own marinade-vinegar made with a large amount of white vinegar, adobo, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and anything we thought would “outdo” someone else’s marinade.  Tabasco? Oh yes!  A little hot sauce was great with the just-sweet mangoes.  Knife?  Like a native, we ate the mangoes with our teeth, yes, even the green ones.

One perfect, just-sweet, still firm mango.

One perfect, just-sweet, still firm mango.

Once we made our marinade, then we had to actually get the mango.  While other kids were happily munching on their peanut butter or ham sandwiches, we were busy knocking a few mangos out of the tree.  Mind you, there was ONE mango tree at our school.  It was a very small school.  Mango trees are pretty tall.  The easiest way to get the mangoes down is with a long pole with a little hook on the end.  Otherwise, a rock or another hard mango can successfully bring down a few good mangoes for someone with good aim.  That meant that someone usually had to get my mango for me (Thank you, boys!) as it is well known that I have terrible aim, even as a child.  Especially as a child!

I hope that mango tree is still there feeding kids today.

Remove the mango meat from the big seed

Remove the mango meat from the big seed

Cut it into slices....

Cut it into slices….

Or cut it smaller into chunks.

Or cut it smaller into chunks.

For each mango used, you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons slivered or minced red onion

  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon adobo (sin pimenton)

  • a few good twirls of fresh cracked black pepper

Let marinate for at least one hour before serving.

This is good served as an accompainment to grilled seafood, chicken or steak, served as is or over romaine with extra vinaigrette for a salad.

Or, keep it a simple side by adding black beans or fresh avocados.

Me?  I like to eat it just like this: fresh, lightly pickled mangoes.

Reminds me of my childhood, and the unique experience we had growing up.

*NOTE:   If you don’t have adobo seasoning in your pantry, an 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon (celery) salt can be substituted.

*NOTE:  Many people are allergic to the sap that comes from the stem of a freshly picked mango.  It is very possible that this may produce an allergic reaction in sensitive people.  However, we found that if the green peel was removed with a knife by someone else, no such reaction occurred.  This is how it came to be that over time, we started preparing our mangoes at home and letting them marinate overnight.  This light pickling produced a delicious treat.  No other fresh ingredients were used, just white vinegar, adobo, black pepper, and any other spice in the cabinet that looked good.

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