MANGOES in CHILE SAUCE!
By Dennis Linden
Here’s an unusual, as well as very tasty, way to enjoy mangoes from Maribel Anaya, a member of Melissa’s Sales Team. Actually this dish is really from the kitchen of Maribel’s grandmother, who has made the dish for years. It has been a family favorite going back to Maribel’s childhood.
“The recipe is from my grandmother. She loves making this for everyone in the family when we come over,” Maribel said. “The whole family looks forward to and expects this dish whenever we visit. Mango con Chile offers a delicious balance of both sweet and spicy together. Grandma always serves the mangoes with a generous helping of white rice and corn on the side—altogether is it’s the perfect combination of flavors on one plate! Like all doting grandmothers, she always encourages everyone to try it and never gets an argument from anyone!”
While a perfectly ripe mango is the main ingredient, the real star of Maribel’s dish is the unique flavor combination of the dried Guajillo chile sauce laced into every bite of the fruit’s tropical-sweet natural flavor. Guajillo peppers are a staple in Mexican cuisine, second only in popularity to the Poblano pepper in culinary use. The pepper is primarily used in marinades, salsas, pastes, butters and spice rubs. Guajillo peppers have a slightly fruity flavor. In all honesty, not being familiar with the Guajillo pepper, I admit to kind of bracing myself before my first taste of this dish, not really knowing what to expect but definitely prepared for a slice of mango in too spicy a sauce for my tepid palate. To the contrary, the flavor combination was mostly mango at the front end, with the mild heat of the pepper slowly complicating the flavor in a very pleasant way. Not sure whether I said “Wow!” before or after quickly going for a second slice. And then a third.
Of course, as already mentioned, this recipe depends on using a ripe mango. The “Sapurana” in Punjabi, India, the homeland of the now globally cultivated mango, translates to “perfect or perfection”. It is an apt name for Melissa’s new year-round pre-conditioned mango program. While mangoes are the most consumed fruit worldwide, this tropical favorite is difficult to handle and transport long distances. The slightest change in storage conditions or temperature has always resulted in inconsistent ripeness by the time the fruit reaches the retailer.
Mangoes sourced from our growing partners worldwide will go through a ripening process that stores the fruit for a time in a specific mixture of oxygen, ethylene gas and temperature. The process is similar to that used to ripen avocadoes evenly for retail distribution. By tweaking the fruit’s storage environment, the ripening stages of the fruit can be controlled. Though the mango varietal selection will rotate depending on the season and growing location--a perfect, ready-to-eat fruit will be guaranteed every time!
Maribel Anaya has been a member of the company’s Sales Team for two years. Her role spans the gambit of detail work it takes to operate a successful perishable produce distribution program that sources internationally and ships nationally from the Melissa’s corporate hub in Los Angeles.
“I work with both local and East Coast accounts,” explained Maribel, then elaborated. “I help the Team by entering orders, processing invoices, updating customer price lists, sending out samples, and helping send Market Updates on supplies and field conditions out to our customers. Working for Melissa’s has helped me utilize my years of experience with customer service in national sales. One of the most important daily tasks is answering customer inquiries in a timely manner and making sure that a customer’s needs are met at all times. Listening, paying close attention, teaching and coaching are all key. No two days are ever alike, which makes the job both fun and challenging.”
Maribel’s multi-tasking office duties continue at home being the mother of three young children – Jayden (6), Jason (4) and Madelynn, who will be 10 months this month. She and husband Jose were high school sweethearts and still are 14 years later! While the kids occupy most of her after work time, especially as their oldest starts group sports, she and Jose do enjoy going to a movie or sports event together. As a family, Maribel says they enjoy taking advantage of local hiking trails when the weather is nice, though the backyard BBQ is everyone’s favorite hangout. Hmm, this mango dish might even be better with GRILLED mango slices! More R&D is obviously needed to confirm…Iucky me!
Grandma’s Mango Con Chile
20 dried Chile Guajillos, reconstituted
3 TBS olive oil
4 Ripe Mangos [any varietal from Melissa’s Sapũrana Mango Program] <2>**
½ Yellow Onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp Salt
3 TBS Sugar (option: granulated sugar substitute)
Fry all 20 chile Guajillos in a pan with olive oil. After frying remove from pan, let cool, then remove all seeds. After removing seeds soak them in water until reconstituted, retain water.
Peel and pit the mangoes, cut them into long slices. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the mango slices and continue the sauté.
In a blender or food processor combine the reconstituted peppers with 1 cup of the soaking water, salt and garlic.
After blending, strain this chile sauce into the pan with the mangoes and onion. As soon as it starts boiling stir in the sweetener, let it boil for a few minutes and serve.
Plating: Serve alongside mix of steamed white rice and sweet corn.