When you live in South Florida, you know it's officially summer not when the temps reach a certain unbearable height, not when the snowbirds are officially gone, but when people start trying to pawn their mangoes off on you.
We all love mangoes, of course, but mango season — which typically lasts from June all the way up to October — is long, and mango trees can be prolific producers of produce. At first, it's great. Locals prepare for the fruits' imminent arrival, discussing each varietal like connoisseurs of fine wine. There are those who like firm texture of Hadens over the red-ripened Tommy Atkins, while others salivate over tiny yellow champagne ones or search out trees that yield jumbo-sized specimens.
But after a baker's dozen or two, it's enough with the mangoes already. But they just keep coming. Do we let them rot on the ground? Or do we find new and creative ways to enjoy them?
That's why this time of year, dinner conversations revolve around how to cook — and what to pair — all these mangoes with. If you're tired of doing all the cooking, here are some of the best mango-inspired dishes around South Florida.
11. Mango Chicken Wings at Knucklehead Burgers
4900 S. University Drive, Davie. Call 954-434-0013, or visit knuckleheadburgers.com.
Chicken and watermelon go well together, but chicken wings and mangoes pair even better. At least, that's the case with the mango-sauce-saturated chicken wings served at Knucklehead Burgers in Davie. The homemade sauce is just the right combination of sweet and tangy and a welcome alternative to the garlic, barbecue, and buffalo sauce we've all grown accustomed to ordering.
10. Coconut Shrimp with Mango Compote at Kaluz
3300 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-772-2209, or visit kaluzrestaurant.com.
Nothing pairs with mango quite like seafood, especially coconut-covered seafood. That might be why Kaluz did the duo justice with its hand-breaded jumbo shrimp, each one encased in a sweet coating of shredded coconut fried to a crisp, topped with a thick mango compote, and finished with cilantro-infused olive oil. It's summer in Florida on a plate, people.
9. Ensalada de Mango Y Pollo at Cantina Laredo
501 Silks Run, Hallandale Beach. Call 954-457-7662, or visit cantinalaredo.com.
Cantina Laredo in Hallandale Beach has a special on the menu featuring mango. The Mexican-American inspired restaurant has fused the fruit into a healthy salad, making it the perfect summertime treat. The ensalada de mango y pollo combines chicken and mango salad with crisp jicama, seasoned pumpkin seeds, grapes, fresh mint, and crumbles of queso fresco smothered in a tangy-sweet honey vinaigrette.
8. Mango Chicken Curry at Bollywood Biryani
8270 Griffin Rd., Davie. Call 954-680-1916, or visit bollywoodbiryani.net.
Mangoes aren't just a Florida thing. They're also a favorite local crop in India, where they're often incorporated into dishes come summer. And an Indian restaurant in Davie is well known for combining the spicy heat of curry with the sweet flavor of fresh mango purée for its mango chicken curry. The ingredients are blended together to create an intense, creamy — and decadent — dish.
7. Sweet 16 Roll at Beg for More Japanese Thai Tapas
2831 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-900-3082, or visit begformorefl.com.
What's sweeter than turning 16? The Sweet 16 sushi roll at Beg for More Sushi and Thai in Fort Lauderdale, of course. There are plenty of restaurants in the area that use mango in their rolls, but none quite like Beg for More. Their dish combines tuna, mango, cilantro, and the kitchen's own house made kimchi sauce for a decidedly delicious take on a specialty roll highlighting South Florida's favorite fruit.
6. Mango Sticky Rice at Malakor Thai Cafe
25 25th St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-762-9070, or visit malakor.com.
This quaint eatery located in the Northwood Village district of West Palm Beach has more than sushi on the menu. Right now, it's also offering a traditional Thai dish in honor of the Mango and Music Fest in June, but available throughout the summer. We're talking about the mango sticky rice, a popular dessert served with an entire fresh-sliced mango. The dish is finished with a rich, homemade coconut sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds for an extra layer of flavor.
5. Mango Monroe Hot Dog at Diner Dogs
Diner Dogs is located at the Jupiter River Walk Events Plaza at 25 South Coastal Way, Jupiter. Visit the Diner Dogs Facebook page.
Just like mangoes, hot dogs are summer food. So putting the two together just seems natural. Throw it all in a gyro bread wrap, and the meal somehow becomes intergalactic, out of this world delicious. Based out of Jupiter, the Diner Dog food cart operation offers several specialty dogs available on the weekends when they set up shop beneath the bridge at the Jupiter River Walk. Each are made using skinless Sabrett hot dogs and are wrapped not with regular, poppy seed, or potato buns, but fresh-baked, garlic-buttered pita flatbread instead. The Mango Monroe dog is one of the most popular, says owner Anthony Arnold, his fresh mango salsa paired with diced onion, feta cheese, and cilantro. For a $1 upgrade you can "double dog" your order, meaning you can have two hot dogs in one pita.
4. Rok:Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa at Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar
204 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-2003, or visit tacocraft.com.
Mango on a taco just sounds right, and that's what you'll get when you order some of Tacocraft's Rok:Shrimp tacos, tempura-battered shrimp cradled in homemade tortillas with a fresh-whipped spicy mayo, sprigs of cilantro, and a tangy sweet mango salsa. Try this dish on a Taco Tuesday when you can pair it with one of the restaurant's $6 Espolón margaritas.
3. Mango Ceviche at Avocado Grill
125 Datura St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-623-0822, or visit avocadogrillwpb.com.
Julien Gremaud's gastropub in West Palm Beach is known for using locally grown ingredients with each seasonal rotation of his menu. A few dishes stay on but receive a few updated accoutrements — like the grilled octopus, which currently features mango — while others make a complete turnover, like the new tuna avocado spring rolls with fresh mango, a watermelon salsa, arugula, and yuzu. Right now, a ceviche bar is in full swing just in time for summer — and that means more mango, of course. Three takes let you choose among the AG special (octopus, bay scallops, shrimp, and calamari in coconut milk, macadamia nuts, and a green papaya salad); a traditional take (bay scallops and shrimp smothered in an aji amarillo sauce with red onion and cilantro); or a mango habanero (bay scallops, shrimp, and calamari in a mango habanero aji amarillo sauce with red onion and avocado).
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2. Lobster and Habanero Mango Salsa Nachos at Himmarshee Public House
201 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-616-5275, or visit publichouseftl.com.
Nothing adds a hint of summertime to a dish like fresh mango, and the guys over at Himmarshee Public House know the best way to highlight this Florida fruit is to pair it with only the best: lobster. The menu features a terrific starter, a wood board featuring a series of single-serve handcrafted nachos, each hand-held sized selection loaded with fresh Maine lobster meat, guacamole, Jack cheese, cilantro, and — as a final touch — a hot and spicy habanero-mango salsa. Order them during the restaurant's all new happy hour Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m., when you can pair them with one of several new cocktails for a sweet deal.
1. Duck and Waffles with Mango Compote at Max's Harvest
169 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-381-9970 or visit maxsharvest.com.
Forget duck a l'orange. How about duck and mango? For a truly decadent breakfast angle on the chicken and waffles dish, head over to Max's Harvest in Delray Beach. Here, duck is the new chicken in the chef's duck and waffles, available for brunch. The dish features a rich fried duck confit atop a from-scratch Belgian waffle and topped with a sunny-side-up Lake Meadow duck egg. For a final touch, the kitchen sends it off with a dollop of Max's own "harvest" hot sauce and — lest we forget the seasonal angle — a good dose of fresh, locally sourced mango compote.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.