Summer is mango season in Miami. Right now, trees all over the city are dripping with ripening fruit. In celebration of the coming months, I created this simple mango salad with mozzarella and mint. It features mango in all its glory, along with soft buffalo mozzarella, fresh mint and tangy pickled onions. A drizzle of good olive oil, 18 year balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh pepper are the only seasoning needed. This is the type of recipe that focuses on the quality of the ingredients instead of a lot of fuss—my favorite kind!
Mangos start ripening as early as April in Miami, depending on the species. There are hundreds of species and the different varieties continue producing until January. Peak season is during the summer months.
In July, we visit the Mango Festival at Fairchild Tropical Garden. This botanical garden holds the largest mango festival in the world, featuring hundreds of mango species. You can taste different mango varieties, eat mango -filled goodies and purchase fresh fruit and trees at the festival. It’s definitely a must-see for any foodie family.
Many Miami homeowners have mango trees in their backyard. We planted a dwarf mango two years ago, and this is the first year it fruited. We only harvested three little mangoes, but they were our mangoes. If you don’t have your own mango tree, this is the time of year when you wish you were friends with the grumpy neighbor who’s massive old mango tree is loaded with fruit.
The older trees bear so much fruit, many people hire pickers to come harvest the fruit from their yards; others just let it rot on the ground. If you drive through some of the old neighborhoods, you will see boxes of fruit for the taking, along with a tip jar.
Mangoes can be found cheaply throughout the city right now. You can sometimes find them in the grocery store for as little as $.25. They aren’t in as good condition as they would be straight off the tree, but for that price, I’ll take a few bruises. If you want really good prices and quality, visit the Spanish grocery stores. They get their fruit from small local producers and it is often in better condition than the fruit in the big stores.
I hope you get to try some good mangoes this year. Be sure to come by the Mango festival if you are visiting Miami in July. It’s hot, but there is plenty of good eating!
Yield: 2-4 servings
To prepare the mango, carefully remove the skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cutting lengthwise in the direction of the seed, slice two slices from the mango. Lay the slices cut-side down and cut into thin slices.
Arrange salad greens on plates. Layer a slice of mozzarella, three slices of mango, another slice of mozzarella and three more slices of mango. Add onion and mint leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I’ve shared a lot of recipes so far on Love and Duck Fat, but I can’t believe it’s taken me THIS LONG to share this one. You see, my orzo salad recipe is legendary (in my small circle of friends and family). It has actually made an appearance once on my blog before in photos, but I never got around to posting the recipe. You can see it here at my son’s first birthday party.
Orzo salad is one of the recipes I make over and over. I serve it at parties, I pack it up for lunch, we eat it for dinner, late night snacks and even the occasional breakfast–and we never tire of it.
The inspiration for my orzo salad recipe first came from Whole Food’s orzo salad; which is good. When I lived in Boston, I regularly picked up a pint of it on my way to work. I decided to improve on their recipe, which is why this salad is so much better. I make sure that every bite has something fresh and yummy in it. The mix of tastes and textures make this orzo salad so much fun to eat. There’s feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, baby spinach, artichokes, black olives, roasted peppers, balsamic vinegar and lots of good olive oil. I mix in fresh herbs like rosemary and mint and they really amp up the flavor.
Most of these ingredients are something I keep on hand in my pantry and refrigerator at all times, so it’s easy to make this salad whenever I want. It’s also easy to customize, adding or subtracting whatever you have on hand or desire.
Once made, this orzo salad keeps well too. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days and still be as good as when you first made it. Bring it to a pot luck or serve it at a barbecue this summer and see it disappear. Every time I make it, I get asked for the recipe, which is why I’m so happy to finally share it here with everyone on Love and Duck Fat.
If you do make this salad, I would love to hear how much you enjoyed it in the comment section below.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain pasta and add it to a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss. Allow to cool completely.
Using a small skillet toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat until they are slightly brown and fragrant.
Toss the orzo with the pine nuts, tomato, onion, herbs, artichokes, olives, feta cheese, cucumber and red pepper.
Add the spinach leaves and vinaigrette. Toss again. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Roasting vegetables has become my “thing”. It’s my go-to for cooking just about anything–like this Burrata cheese and roasted vegetable stack– because the flavors are so good. When you roast something, the flavors intensify because the liquid is released and flavors concentrate. Very little fuss is needed beyond a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil to bring out the best in any vegetable.
The opposite happens when you boil or steam a vegetable. Do it too long, and you end up with a waterlogged, bland and floppy excuse for a veggie on your plate. No wonder so many people don’t like to eat their vegetables.
Whether you love to eat your vegetables or not, this recipe will blow your mind. There’s the creamy-sweet taste of eggplant, mild zucchini and yellow squash, and an intense zing from the tomato, all combined with deliriously-buttery Burrata cheese. Combine that with a drizzle of 18-year-old Balsamic vinegar and I guarantee clean plates. It’s a Meatless Monday (or any day) recipe everyone will love. I served mine with a side of angle hair pasta tossed in extra virgin olive oil and some fresh herbs. It’s that simple.
It’s also a meal you will pay a good amount of money for in a good restaurant. Instead, you get to eat your roasted vegetable & Burrata cheese stack in your pajamas on the couch, while catching up on past episodes of Game of Thrones. The baby is sleeping and your husband leans over to kiss your cheek saying, “kiss the cook,” because that’s what he does every time you cook a good (or bad) meal. Who could ask for more?
More roasted vegetable recipes:
Try this Burrata appetizer recipe:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/190 degrees C
Slice the eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini into 1/2-inch discs, crosswise. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat.
Note: You may need to use two sheet pans to roast all of the vegetables depending on size. In that case, use more olive oil. The tomatoes release a lot of liquid, so it's best to cook them separately.
Place the vegetables in the oven to roast for 20 minutes, turning once during cooking. Remove the vegetables from the oven when they are lightly browned and tender. The tomatoes should be shrunken in size and collapsed. Plate them warm, or allow to cool to room temperature.
Stack the vegetables on serving plates, alternating each type so you have 2 slices of eggplant, 2 slices of zucchini, 2 slices of yellow squash, 1 tomato (or 4 cherry) and 1 green onion per plate.
Slice the Burrata in half and scoop onto the stack using a spoon. Drizzle the plate with balsamic vinegar.
I have decided that quiche is the perfect breakfast when you have family visiting. You can make it ahead of time, and whip it out for breakfast to impress even the pickiest of in-laws. Not that mine are picky. No. my in-laws are the best.
I always make two quiche. Why? Because there are two crusts in a pack of frozen pie crusts. Yes, I use frozen pie crusts. A homemade crust will always taste better, but a frozen one is good enough when you want something easy. I like to make a spinach quiche, usually with some bits of bacon or sausage and caramelized onion. I also like a delicious mushroom quiche. This one has Gruyere cheese, but you can use whatever cheese is your favorite.
Quiche is awesome because it’s easy to prepare. It looks beautiful. It travels well (I send a slice with my husband to work). It makes a great breakfast AND a great lunch. It’s versatile –throw in whatever ingredients you want. It’s also really, really delicious.
One thing I don’t advise: don’t freeze your quiche. I served a frozen quiche this Christmas and the bottom of the crust was soggy. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good, either. I’m picky, though. My mom loved it.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C
Heat 2 skillets on medium-high heat. You are going to prepare the onions in one, and the mushrooms in the other (to save time). You can also prepare them separately in the same skillet.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the center no longer jiggles. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Prosciutto, Burrata cheese and figs on thin slices of baguette. This appetizer recipe couldn’t be easier to make, or pack a bigger punch when it comes to being both elegant and unbelievably good. Drizzled with thick, sweet 18 year old balsamic, they are sure to impress all of your guests. Of course, if you are like me, you don’t have any guests and you and your husband gobble them all down in between bites of turkey and oyster stuffing.
Today marks my 70th post after just 4 months of Love and Duck Fat. I was planning a big post about how and why I started my blog, what I’ve done to get a terrific audience (you), and so much more…BUT that got my head spinning. Basically, the post will probably happen when I reach 100. Instead, you get crostini. Really good crostini. So don’t feel jipped.
I gushed over Burrata cheese before, but let’s do it again. If you haven’t tried Burrata cheese yet, you need to! Search the cheeses at a store with a good selection and it just may be there next to the fresh mozzarella balls. Burrata cheese is similar to fresh buffalo mozzarella, but much more decadent. Instead of a solid ball of cheese, Burrata is filled with cream and mozzarella scraps as its being formed. When you slice it open, the thickened cream flows out. This makes it perfect for spooning on top of toasted baguette slices. The sweet creamy taste makes the perfect pairing with fresh fruit and salty prosciutto. Your guests will be impressed, and it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.
Another Burrata cheese recipe to try:
Yield: 30 crostini
Preheat oven to 375° F/ 190° C
Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and place in the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until just browned on the edges.
While the baguette slices are cooking, slice the figs and Burrata.
Top the toasted baguette with ½ of a slice of prosciutto, and then spoon on the Burrata. Place a slice of fig on the top. Drizzle a little balsamic across the top and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
This recipe for the best ever tuna tomato melt was adapted from a dish served in a restaurant called Fiddlers in South Florida. The restaurant no longer exists, but my fond memories of eating there as a kid do. My mom and I would always order their “tuna tomato crisp.” It was a massive beefsteak tomato sliced open, piled with tuna salad and topped with lots of melted cheddar. Over the years, I haven’t found a tuna tomato melt that compares, so I created my own version so I could enjoy it at home.
What makes this special is the way the tomato is sliced open. It’s easy to do, doesn’t wobble around and cooks very fast. I usually make this in a medium-large ripe tomato, but you can make this really fun by choosing small tomatoes or even cherry tomatoes. Top with lots of melted cheese, blast in a hot oven and everyone will love them. The best part is you don’t need to spend time coring and stuffing the tomato. Just split it open like a flower and pile the tuna on top.
This recipe starts with really good tuna salad. It has lots of crunchy veggies and is light on the mayonnaise. Make your tuna however you prefer, but just try it this way once. You may thank me. You can serve the tomato on top of your favorite salad mix or baby spinach. Dress it very lightly or not at all. There is so much flavor in this recipe, you don’t need a lot of dressing. I could eat this every day. It’s healthy and really, really yum.
Yield: 2 servings
This recipe makes a little extra tuna salad.
Heat oven or toaster oven to broil.
Drain the tuna and add to a small bowl. Using a fork, flake the tuna. Mix in the onion, celery, pickle (or relish or capers), mayonnaise, mustard and parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Cut out the stem from the tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in slices, without cutting through the bottom. Press your hand on the top of the tomato to fan out the slices. Pack the tuna salad into the tomatoes and arrange on a foil covered sheet pan. Top each with 1-2 slices of cheese, depending on how indulgent you are feeling.
Pop the stuffed tomatoes into the oven, close to the top heat and keep your eye on them. The goal is to just melt the cheese and get a little brown crust. This should take about 5-8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the tomatoes on top of your dressed salad greens.