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 have a habit of grabbing unusual ingredients when I see them in the market. Sometimes I come across jicama (pronounced hikama). This unusual little gem of an ingredient looks like a brown turnip. It requires no cooking, and is surprisingly sweet; with a texture similar to an apple.
Living in South Florida, we get a lot of steamy days. Adding fruit to a salad, like in this watermelon feta salad, is one of my favorite ways to cool down. The play of textures and sweet/salty/sour is addicting.
I made this salad from ingredients I had in my fridge at the time, and it was amazing. You’ll love the contrast of the crunchy jicama and the soft, juicy sweetness of the melon. The mint adds a refreshing touch; perfect for a hot summer day. The shades of green make a beautiful presentation, but feel free to substitute your favorite melon.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Prepare jicama by simply peeling or cutting off the outer skin. Cut into small pieces or julienne. Toss into a large bowl with green onion, melon, cucumber and mint.
Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.
Toss salad with dressing. Serve right away or chill in refrigerator for an hour.
This refreshing watermelon, tomato, feta and mint salad only takes a few minutes to make. It’s beautiful and addicting; the perfect salad on a hot summer day. If you plan to serve right away, I recommend chilling all of the ingredients first so your salad is nice and cold.
Combine all of the salad ingredients. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and season to taste. Dress the salad and you’re done. It will also keep in the refrigerator for about a day. Enjoy!