As I write this post, it's just four degrees outside and hard to believe that it's a December morning in Australia. Though it's chilly outside, my fruit platter is piled high with a warm bounty of Summer mangoes. The scent and colour is wonderful and I think that even the fruit platter is delighted.
Growers in the industry advise that a good wet season combined with a long dry winter has produced a lavish flowering, with producers anticipating strong volumes of mangoes this Summer. The industry is now keeping its fingers crossed that the favourable conditions and promising start to the season continue over the next few months.
The Australian Mango industry comprises 1000 growers across the country and produces 45,000 tonnes of Mangoes each year worth $AUD140 million at farm gate and a retail value of $AUD350 million. Key growing areas are Mareeba/Dimbulah , Burdekin/Bowen, Yeppoon and Bundaberg in Queensland, Darwin, Katherine and Mataranka in the Northern Territory, Northern New South Wales, and Kununurra, Carnarvon and Gingin in Western Australia. Production begins in Darwin with supply having been available since August and peaking in early October. Katherine (NT) and Kununurra (WA) follows in mid-October, before Queensland – the producer of some 60% of the country’s mango crop – comes on stream in mid-November, with south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales completing the harvest from early January. Yum! Mango lovers, like me, can feast on them for months!
The yield is made up of several varieties with Kensington Pride as the most common (60%), followed by Calypso (15%) and “R2E2” (6%). Of the fresh fruit harvested, 90% is sold on the Australian domestic market and 10% is exported overseas.
Mangoes are divine eaten from the hand (wear an apron!), and are great with savoury and sweet dishes alike. My mango salsa features on our menu. They are lovely when grilled, as this recipe proves. Do try it, you will love it.
GRILLED MANGO AND CARAMELISED BRIOCHE
1 large ripe mango
2 tablespoons VIN Santo wine or other dessert wine
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 large, thick slices of brioche or panettone
2 tablespoons butter
Vanilla ice cream for serving
Cut the cheeks from the mangoes and cook them on a pre-heated grill until the grill marks are visible on one side only, this normally takes around 30 seconds.
Carefully transfer the mango to a baking dish that will snuggly fit the mango cheeks side by side. Pour the VIN Santo over the mango, add the vanilla bean and add a couple of tablespoons of water to the tray also. Place into a pre-heated oven on 180C for about 3-5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes, there should be a nice syrup in the bottom of the baking tray.
Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, once the butter starts to sizzle cook both pieces of the brioche in the hot butter until golden brown in colour. Remove the golden brioche from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and place back on the heat with a tablespoon of caster sugar, as soon as the sugar starts to caramelize add the brioche back to the pan, be careful this will be very hot. Once the first side of the brioche is covered in the caramel and becoming crunchy carefully flip and repeat for the other side. Once both sides are done transfer the toffee coated brioche to a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes before serving. Serves two. Recipe courtesy AMIA.
Good Things in season and ripe for the market basket each month.