In Mexico, mango season marks the arrival of spring—the ushering out of all the citrus fruits (goodbye, juicy tangerines) and the arrival of slippery, wet-fleshed fruits from the tropics. Mangoes pop up on the street corners, in plastic cups, and in the markets for absurdly low prices. Mango pico de gallo could probably be made with a variety of fruits, but it’s an ode to a time in Mexico when everyone’s got mangoes on their minds. This recipe originally came from Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, one of Mexico’s most important chefs and the owner of two restaurants in Mexico City.
One of his restaurants, Azul Condesa, recently hosted a special mango-themed menu, and I was lucky enough to dine there. One bite of his mango pico de gallo, served in a pretty martini glass, and I nearly swooned. I found the recipe later in his Spanish-language cookbook, Salsas Mexicanas. It calls for fish sauce, which adds just the right touch of tartness and a bit of an Asian flare, which is an interesting nod to Mexico’s history with the mango. Did you know?: Although mangoes are widely grown in Mexico today, they originally came from Asia.
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MANGO PICO DE GALLO
from Salsas Mexicanas by Ricardo Muñoz Zurita
(serves 4 as an appetizer)
Note: The original recipe calls for manila mangoes, which are prized in Mexico for their sweetness. Other types of mangoes would probably work as well, as long as they’re mature. On the fish sauce, I’d add a little bit at a time and taste as you go along. The two tablespoons adds a recognizable fishy flavor, but it mellowed out a bit as the pico sat at room temperature.
1 very ripe beefsteak tomato, diced, with the skin and seeds
2 tablespoons of minced onion
1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro, including stems
1 tablespoon of minced chile serrano (this is about one chile)
2 manila mangoes, weighing about a quarter-of-a-pound each, peeled and cut into roughly two-centimeter cubes
2 tablespoons fish sauce* (see note)
Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl, then add the fish sauce. Taste for either more fish sauce or perhaps a little salt. (I didn’t use any.) Serve with tostadas.