Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Mango and avocado salad

Here's our fourth guest blog post from Elly McCausland:

Avocados have a wonderful affinity with mangoes. There’s something about the combination of golden, juicy, sweet mango flesh with the muted jade creaminess of avocados that just works, on multiple levels: it tastes great, but, just as importantly, it looks great too.

Furthermore, this combination of ingredients makes a versatile salad that can accompany all sorts of grilled or roasted meats or fish. It’s delicious with tangy, Mexican-style pulled pork (wrapped in a tortilla with rice and beans and some fresh tomato salsa, as in the picture), or with a glazed, crispy roast chicken; with chargrilled salmon fillets, or maybe some seared mackerel. Serve it with steak, or even burgers. It makes a perfect barbecue side dish because it is so adaptable, and will work well with almost anything, or even on its own – fruity yet luxuriantly creamy at the same time, it’s incredibly moreish, but in a nourishing, wholesome, nutritious way – the kind of salad you’ll want to eat by the bowlful, and will probably take the starring role and overshadow whatever you decide to serve it with.

This is a very simple salad to put together. Toss some cubed mango and avocado with spinach leaves, and some kind of crunchy green veg – I use mange tout here, but green beans would work well, or cucumber (or both). The dressing is a delicious zingy mixture of coriander, lime juice, olive oil and a generous pinch of salt, which really brings all the flavours alive. Finally, some delicious nutty toasted seeds are scattered over the top, for crunch and a delicious earthy flavour.

Mango and avocado salad (serves 4-6):

2 ripe avocados
2 ripe mangoes
A bag of baby spinach leaves
250g mange tout or green beans
A large bunch of coriander
Juice of 1-2 limes
A pinch of ground cumin
6 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp sea salt
Black pepper
4 tbsp pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry pan

Scoop the flesh from the avocados and cut into chunks. Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh into small cubes. Place in a big salad bowl with the spinach. Steam or boil the mange tout/beans briefly so they retain some bite, then refresh in cold water, drain and add to the spinach.

If you have a mini chopper or food processor, blitz the coriander and cumin with the lime juice, olive oil and salt – keep tasting to determine if you need more salt or lime juice. If you don’t have a chopper, just finely chop the coriander and whisk together with the oil, lime juice, cumin and salt. Season with a little black pepper, then toss together with the salad. Scatter over the seeds just before serving.

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