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GOOD COOKING/ABBY MANDEL

You Say Tomato; I Say Mango

April 15, 1998|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In early spring, when the quality of tomatoes is disappointing and peaches aren't available, mangoes can add a burst of flavor and color to salads, salsas, even tropical drinks. Rich in vitamins A, C and D, mangoes are juicy and sweet with a slightly tart edge that is easily intensified with vinegar or citrus juices.

Green mangoes develop yellow patches blushed with red as they ripen. They can be ripened in a paper bag at room temperature; when ripe, they will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Mandel's latest book is "Celebrating the Midwestern Table" (Doubleday & Co., 1996).

TROPICAL BELLINI

This elegant dessert is a take-off of the Bellini cocktail of sparklingwine and white peach nectar.

1 cup quartered strawberries

1 small banana, sliced

1 large mango, peeled and diced, about 3 1/2 cups

1/2 cup sugar

1 to 2 teaspoons lime juice

1 bottle chilled sparkling white wine, such as Champagne

8 slices lime

Arrange strawberries, banana and 3 cups mango in single layer on baking sheet and freeze until solid but tip of sharp knife can be inserted into fruit, about 1 hour. If frozen too hard, thaw briefly; fruit should stay firm.

Pulse frozen fruit and sugar in food processor to break up, then process until finely minced, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup mango and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Process until very smooth and sugar is completely dissolved, about 1 1/2 minutes. Taste and add up to 1 teaspoon remaining lime juice if needed.

Transfer to freezer container, such as loaf pan, and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. If frozen more than 1 day, process again if needed to make smooth.

To serve, let soften slightly at room temperature. Scoop into long-stemmed glasses and pour chilled sparkling wine over. Garnish with lime slices. Serve immediately.

8 servings. Each serving:

156 calories; 4 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.34 gram fiber.

CARIBBEAN COBB SALAD

This version of the Cobb salad comes from the Caribbean island of St. Croix. The salad relies on the mango for a richness of flavor that requires little additional oil in the dressing.

DRESSING

1 tablespoon oil

2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

SALAD

1 large firm mango, peeled and diced

1/2 pound large shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

1/2 English cucumber with peel, seeded and cut into small dice

1/2 large red bell pepper, diced

1 small red onion, minced

Inner leaves of 1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into 3/4-inch-wide slices, about 8 loosely packed cups

4 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

DRESSING

Mix oil, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper in small bowl.

SALAD

Gently toss mango, shrimp, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and lettuce in large bowl. (Salad can be made to this point a few hours in advance and kept refrigerated, covered with damp paper towel.)

To serve, toss with bacon, cheese and Dressing. Adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

3 servings. Each serving:

344 calories; 776 mg sodium; 139 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 24 grams carbohydrates; 26 grams protein; 2.14 grams fiber.

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