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Cucumber-Mango Salad

May 24, 2011

Last Sunday, I went on an honest-to-goodness picnic. So what if the wind still has a chilly bite and the grass is on the moist side: I was ready for summer, dammit, and summer means refreshing fruit salads and sitting on the ground.

Looking ahead, I’m also trying to cram in some summer-fun in the next few weeks, before summer actually begins. Working in theatre, summer is probably my busiest time of year. When “normal people” take it easy and go on vacation, we’re there to entertain them, or at least keep their kids out of trouble from 9-3. I never went to theatre camp as a kid, but it’s looking like an annual occurrence from now on.

Luckily, this year I’m doing a show in the park, so I’ll get plenty of picnics; they’ll just be “working picnics.” This Sunday, on the other hand, was all about being barefoot on the grass, watching the dogs and couples and little-leaguers, and not having anywhere to be. We loaded up the backpacks with bread and cheese and strawberries, and I made a refreshing salad to go alongside.

I intended this to be a savory salad with sweet mango in it, but it was completely the other way around. The mango really brought out the sweetness in the cucumber and red onion, making it more of a fruit salad with savory notes from the onion and ginger. Either way, it was the perfect thing on a nearly-warm afternoon,  and it would be even better on a hot one.

And here’s a one improvisation from the field. Strawberries were another delightful addition to the salad – and proof that I can’t stop messing with a recipe until it’s been fully consumed.

Cucumber-Mango Salad

Serves 3-4

1 medium mango, peeled, quartered and thickly sliced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, quartered and thickly sliced
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons fresh mint, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
¹⁄₈ teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste

1. Combine mango, cucumber, onion and mint in a bowl
2. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, ginger, salt and pepper.
3. Toss fruit in the dressing and season to taste.

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