Typically, on a cold winter's day, I crave hearty, carb-heavy meals to comfort and warm my body; however, every once in a while there are days when my senses long for the bright, clean flavors of summer meals. Last night was an evening of the latter. I arrived home from work with a much-too-heavy bag full of weekend work in hand and my hair dusted in snow. Being exhausted, Dan and I had decided to forgo an evening out to dinner with friends in search of a homemade dinner for two in pajamas and an early bedtime. While I was ready to go with the pj's, the homemade dinner plan had yet to be discovered, so I plopped down in front of my computer and zipped over to one of my favorite recipe sites: Epicurious. With a quick glance out the window at a city that was quickly becoming reminiscent of a snow globe, I searched for a recipe I could rely on to transport me to a warmer, sunnier place: guacamole. While I've had a go at a few guacamole recipes in the past, I love searching for new twists on old favorites. Ironically, the guacamole recipe I decided on had been sitting in my online recipe box for quite some time, but I had always been wishy-washy about the combination of ingredients. Despite my initial hesitation, this time around the recipe looked intriguing and extremely fitting for my state of mind; guacamole plus pomegranate and mango, does it get more summery than that?
After a quick jaunt to Whole Foods, I was back in the kitchen mashing, dicing, peeling, and pomegranate-seeding my way to summer bliss. I certainly expected this recipe to be good (at least in theory, $20 worth of ingredients should make a decent guac) but I was humbly amazed by the flavors and textures created by the unexpected pairing of ingredients. The pomegranate seeds add a burst of sugary tartness and the mango adds a silky sweetness. Together, and in guacamole, these two have the ability to shock dulled, carbohydrate-biased winter taste buds back into remembering why it is they love summer foods so much.
Mango Pomegranate Guacamole (Serves 6-8 appetizer portions)
Adapted from Epicurious.com
4 ripe avocados
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 fresh serrano chiles, finely chopped (including or excluding seeds depending on how spicy you like it)
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¾ cups pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)*
¾ cups diced peeled mango
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Halve, pit, and peel avocados. Coarsely mash in a bowl. Stir in onions, chiles, ¼ cup lime juice, and 1 ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Fold in the pomegranate seeds, mango, and cilantro. Season with salt and additional lime juice if needed. Serve with tortilla or plantain chips. Enjoy!
*The easiest and cleanest way to extract the seeds from a pomegranate: 1) slice off the ends and cut the pomegranate into six equal pieces, 2) fill a large bowl with water, 3) submerge 1 piece of pomegranate at a time and peel the seeds away from the white flesh (the white flesh will float to top of water and the seeds will sink to the bottom), 4) discard flesh and strain water from seeds in a colander.