Pop quiz: what’s the world’s most popular fruit? Apples? Bananas? Tomatoes, if we’re going to be fussy and technical?
Nope, none of the above. Numerous reports name the world’s most widely consumed fruit as the mango. Around the globe, mangoes outrank apples by 3 to 1 and bananas by 10 to 1. We Americans have some catching up to do in terms of our mango savvy. If this were the Olympics, the Brazilians and Indians would be slaughtering us.
I’m not actually sure I had ever eaten a mango before about the age of 25. My dad has always told me the story of his near-death-experience-mango-allergy, so genetics being what they are, I always steered clear for fear of some terrible case of sticky-sweet anaphylaxis. Fortunately, whenever I did eventually get up the guts to taste some, mangoes were kind to me and did not bring me any closer to death. Quite the opposite. They’re loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and fiber, so if anything, they should add to my lifespan. So indulge me while I give you a second mango-related post in the space of three days.
This dinner is one of those powerhouse meals that manages to be healthy, delicious, and gorgeous at the same time. It’s ideal for company, as it looks straight out of a magazine and is almost entirely prepared ahead of time. To make this for dinner last night, I made the mango salsa a day ahead (gives the flavors more time to meld anyway) and put the tilapia in the marinade in the early afternoon. Served with rice and steamed broccoli, it’s just what summer ordered!
P.S. If your local grocer does not offer mangoes, or if they are out of season, I recommend purchasing them frozen. Trader Joe’s sells pre-peeled, pre-chopped mangoes in their frozen section, which is what I almost always use for this recipe. Frozen fruits are typically picked at the height of ripeness, so you’re much better off buying frozen than fresh if the fruit you’re looking for is not in season.
Herb-Marinated Tilapia with Mango Salsa
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)
For the marinade:
1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
4 large tilapia fillets
For the salsa:
1 1/2 c. mango, peeled and diced
1/3 c. red pepper, diced
1/3 c. red onion, minced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
2-3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste
For best results, prepare the salsa ahead of time (up to 48 hours) by combining the mango, red pepper, red onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Stir in lime juice and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
Place tilapia fillets in a large Ziploc-type bag. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, basil, black pepper, and salt. Pour over fillets, coat with the marinade, squeeze excess air out of the bag, and seal. Marinate refrigerated for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place tilapia fillets in a glass baking dish, draining off excess marinade. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve topped with mango salsa.
I always used to be skeptical of granita. Typically containing only three ingredients–fruit juice, water, and sugar–it kinda sounds like some Weight Watchers trick to make you think juice is dessert. (Nice try, Weight Watchers.) But then I started making it, starting with this fancy-schmancy lime recipe, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It still doesn’t exactly fit the bill for a “real” dessert in my book (I think my definition for real dessert is “must contain fat”) but it is a lovely, light, refreshing after-dinner palate cleanser. Any fruit juice will do to make it. I’ve tried grapefruit, watermelon, lime, and lemon, and I’m especially curious to try this sangria version.
This time around, I happened to have a couple of lemons hanging around waiting to be put to some culinary use, so Dear Old Uncle Google willingly obliged an appropriate recipe. I love the unique twist the thyme infusion gives the flavor here–a subtle depth that balances the lemony sweetness nicely. Excellent for a little something different!
From Taste of Home
1 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. fresh lemon juice
2 fresh thyme sprigs
In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice and thyme. Transfer to an 8-in. square dish; cool to room temperature.
Remove thyme sprigs. Freeze for 1 hour; stir with a fork. Freeze 2-3 hours longer or until completely frozen, stirring every 30 minutes.
Stir granita with a fork just before serving; spoon into dessert dishes. Yield: 2 cups.