Mango-Orange Salad

Did you know that grilling is a Patriotic Duty? According to HPBA (the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association) independence day is the number one holiday for barbecues and outdoor cooking and based on a national grilling poll, 80% of adults plan to host or attend a cookout this forth of July.

The U.S. Census Bureau - better known for telling Americans how many of them there are and how much they make on the average - surveyed 66 million people who attended barbecues last year and figured "it's probably safe to assume a large number of these events took place on the Fourth."

Then, the number crunchers set about laying out the facts of the nation's Independence Day activities.  Here are some of the most interesting ones:

  • There's a 1-in-6 chance the beef on the grill came from Texas, the leader in the production of cattle and calves, accounting for 7.2 billion pounds of the nation's total production of 42.2 billion pounds last year.

  • There's a 1-in-4 chance the hot dogs and ribs originated in Iowa, which had a total inventory of 14.9 million hogs and pigs as of March 1. That's about one-fourth the nation's total.

  • The chicken on the barbecue grill probably came from one of the top broiler-producing states -- Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina or Mississippi. The value of production in each of these states exceeded $1 billion last year as these five states combined for well over half of the nation's broiler production.

  • The lettuce in the salad -- or topping the burger -- probably was grown in California, which accounted for nearly three-quarters of lettuce production last year.

  • The fresh tomatoes -- also probably found in the salad and on top of the hamburger -- most likely came from Florida or California, which, combined to produce more than two-thirds of U.S. tomatoes in 2002.

  • Meanwhile, the ketchup on the burger or hot dog -- or in that homemade barbecue sauce for the chicken and ribs -- probably came from California, which accounted for 95 percent of processed tomato production last year.

  • There's a 1-in-3 chance the beans in your side dish of baked beans or pork and beans came from North Dakota, which produced more than one-third of the dry, edible beans in 2002.

  • As for potato salad or potato chips or fries, Idaho and Washington produced about one-half of the nation's spuds in 2002.

  • For dessert, six states -- California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Indiana -- combined to produce about 80 percent of watermelons last year.

  • And did you know that there may be a good chance that at least one of the guests at the backyard barbecue on the Fourth of July might be a foreign-born resident, who accounted for 11.5 percent of the population?

  • Or that last year, $3.0 million was the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags. The vast majority of this amount ($2.5 million) was for U.S. flags made in China.

  • And the US spent over $135.6 million on fireworks again importing from China.  Then we exported them to Germany, who purchased more than any other single country, Mexico comes in second! 

So this weekend, put on an apron, fire up a grill and get set in doing your patriotic duty… and to complement those hamburgers, ribs, chickens, sausage and hot dogs put together this perfect side salad who will also wow that foreign-born guest you are sure to have.

Mango-Orange Salad
Serves about 4-6

2-3 mangos, peeled, seeded and diced into bite size cubes *you will need one that is not too ripe, but somewhere in between. (see tips & tricks)
2 oranges, peeled and then segmented
1 red onion, chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded and cut into small pieces (optional)
1-2 roman tomatoes, chopped and seeded (see tips & tricks)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Pinches of Sea salt and ground pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon of sugar / or honey (if needed)

In a bowl, add the mango, orange, onion, tomato, jalapeño and cilantro.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, depending on the type of salt you use, about 2-3 pinches is enough (if using sea salt). Gently toss the ingredients to mix together.

Take and squeeze one orange and one lime over the salad pouring their juices into the ingredients, add the olive oil and again, gently toss around to combine. Taste and if needed, season again with salt and pepper.  Sometimes you can add a bit of sugar/honey to balance the flavor, and this also enhances the sweetness of the mango and orange in the salad. 

Cover and refrigerate.  About 15 minutes before serving time, take out and let it come to room temperature.

Tips & Tricks:

  • The mango for this salad should be ripe but not overly so, or it will fall apart into the salad and that is not what you are looking for.  You are looking for a mango that is not quite ripe yet, but not green either.  The flesh should be bright yellow and not soft/mushy but firm (not hard).
  • You can learn how to select a ripe mango here
  • You can also learn how to cube it here
  • You can learn how to segment an orange (or any citrus fruit) here
  • If you don’t want much heat on the salad, only add ½ of the chopped jalapeño pepper.
  • Since you are using tomatoes and they tend to discard water once you cut them and let them sit for a bit.  I recommend making this salad early the day of serving it.  This will minimized the amount of tomato water in the end product.  If you want to make the salad the night before, you can do so, just don’t add the tomatoes until the day you are serving it.
  • Once I cut my tomatoes I tend to season them with a bit of salt and ground pepper and let them marinate a bit before I add them to the salad.
  • Depending on the type of salt you use season the salad slowly, building the flavor up.  All my salt tends to be sea salt, which seasons “more” with “less” so I go easy when I’m seasoning.  If you are using regular salt, you can be a bit more literal with your pinches.
  • The trick to this salad is in the seasoning, so I suggest you taste, taste and taste, adjusting the seasoning every step of the way.  It should have a fresh bite to it, with a mild salty/peppery flavor.  I tend to add a tablespoon of sugar (or honey) to give it a bit of balance on the flavor profile.