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There’s so much we learn from our mothers: how to be caring individuals, how to be honourable, how to love others…and, how to take inspiration from everyday ingredients to make delicious and gorgeous food. (Admittedly, the latter doesn’t apply to all of us, but I was one of the blessed ones whose mother is a fabulous cook!). That said, credit for this recipe goes entirely to my mother. Opening up her refrigerator is like Christmas morning for anyone who loves to cook. She’s always stocked with all sorts of fresh veggies and other ingredients. A couple of months ago, she found herself with an abundance of peppers and mangoes and decided to put them to good use by creating this delicious salad. Since that day, this salad has been my go-to recipe when I have leftover mangoes and peppers laying around in the fridge (which is more often that you’d think) or when I need a refreshing and uber colourful salad to grace my table. The salad is reminiscent of island life and balmy temperatures; a stark contrast to the nippy temperatures and blanket of white snow that I’m currently seeing outside, but I thought I would shake things up.
Fried garlic can go from fragrant and delicious to burnt and aggressive in mere seconds. There is nothing worse than the flavour of burnt garlic so make sure you remove the pan from the stove well before that garlic turns brown. It should be a pale golden colour (just starting to brown around the edges). It will darken considerably after it’s removed from the heat.
When the garlic oil, balsamic and cilantro are added to these otherwise sweet ingredients, the flavours really come alive! They are bold and have both sweet and savoury layers of flavour and the raw peppers provide the perfect amount of crunch.
Mango & Bell Pepper Salad
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
1 red pepper
4 green onions (scallions) or ¼ red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra light olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup cilantro/coriander, finely chopped
Slice the peppers and mangoes into long strips. Combine with onions in a large bowl and set aside. Warm the oil in a small pan and add the garlic. Toast gently until the garlic is a pale brown colour. The garlic will continue to brown after you have removed it off the burner, so be sure to take if off the heat before it browns completely. Allow to cool. Toss the pepper and mango mixture with the salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, coriander and the cooled garlic/oil mixture. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy. This salad is best served immediately. If you want to make it ahead of time, combine the mangoes, peppers and onions and refrigerate and dress the salad right before serving.