Saturday was one of those perfect spring days that keeps me hooked on notion that New York is the best place to live in the world (despite mounting evidence to the contrary). It was the kind of day that makes you want to climb up onto a Williamsberg rooftop and smoke 5 lbs. of knackwurst while chowing down on grass fed beef hot dogs covered in green mango relish…. And that’s exactly what we did.
A couple of weeks ago while having dinner over at Claire’s, the culinary geekery was off the charts. With food neurons firing away at bore, we got this crazy idea into our heads of making Choucroute Garnie from scratch; and by “from scratch”, I mean the sausage and sauerkraut as well.
For the better part of 2 weeks now, I’ve been living with the stench of a living vat of cabbage in my bedroom closet. On Friday I got the call that Claire and Stephane would be smoking the sausages the following day. L and I were invited over to share in the rooftop fire making, lured with the promise of 2 grass fed La Cense Beef hot dogs on homemade buns.
I offered to bring something along, and it was around then that Claire confided that she’d somehow managed to go an entire lifetime without ever having consumed a hot dog. Sure, she’s spent most of that time in more glamorous parts of the world, where the term “hot dog” is more likely to elicit images of an overheating canine than something you would stick in your mouth; but she’s spent the past 8 months living in New York City, home of the pushcart dirty water dogs and the infamous courtesy of Stephane).
I’d originally set out to make a green tomato relish, but after visiting 2 farmers markets and a Wholefoods, I came up empty handed. Scouring the produce section for something suitable for relish making, it occurred to me that green mango (as in unripe mango) would have the perfect crunch and tang I was looking for.
This piquant green mango relish is ridiculously easy to make, and it tastes considerably better than the fluorescent green corn syrup they try to pass off as relish in the condiment aisle. While it was great on the hotdog, it’s similar enough to chutney that you could eat it with curries or in sandwiches as well. Try making it without your favourite blend of spices and green fruit (green peaches, plums and tomatoes come to mind).
Green Mango Maple Relish Recipe
1 large green mango cut into rough chunks
1/2 onion cut into rough chunks
1/4 C fresh parsley stems removed
1/3 C maple syrup
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp white vinegar
Put the mango, onion and parsley into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mango is diced into pebble sized pieces.
Dump the contents into a saucepan and add the maple syrup, salt, mustard, coriander, cumin, and vinegar. Place over a medium flame and heat until it comes to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the mango starts turning translucent, but is still a little crunchy.
Turn off the heat, allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until use.