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 V.17 No.26 | June 26 - July 2, 2008 

Bite

Fruit Stand Bites

Aubrey

We've wanted for months to figure out a compact small plate or appetizer that brings together the classic curbside combos of jícama, mango, pineapple, watermelon, cucumber, chile, lime and salt into one single bite.

Whereas Eastside L.A. fruit stands leave you stabbing a plastic spork at huge chunks of tropical flesh in a spicy balloon bag, we were looking for a clean and simple Everlasting Gobstopper version. Configuring it for a wedding treat, we decided to keep it bite-sized. Slicing all the fruit elements in common shapes and quadruple-deckering them together in layers worked perfectly for making sure all the flavors hit at once. All we needed was a syrup to tie it together: mango chile.

Mango-Chile Syrup

Ingredients:

1 serrano chile
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup white sugar
2 mangos
zest of one lime
Instructions:

1) Slice chile into thin circles. Toast in a small saucepan on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Make your simple syrup by adding water to the chile, stirring, then adding sugar. Stir and let cook for about 3-5 minutes, until sugar dissolves. Remove chile and set aside.

2) Slice your mango: cut it lengthwise, along both long sides of the pit, leaving two half-pieces of fruit. Gently slice a grid pattern in the mango's flesh, holding the skin side in your palm. Don't press too hard; it'll hurt. Now press the skin side in, inverting the fruit, which will cause squares of mango to protrude from the convex half.

3) Slice the cubes off the peel and into the simple syrup. Then emulsify with an immersion blender. Add lime zest and stir. Let pureed syrup sit off the heat while you cut your fruit.

Fruit Stackers

Ingredients:

2 cucumbers (wide ones) 1 pineapple
1 watermelon
1 large jícama
1/4 cup cilantro
Instructions:

1) Peel skin from your cucumber and remove the spiky outside from your pineappleslice both into thin, 2-centimenter pieces. Slice your watermelon and jícama likewise.

2) With a set of shape cutters, play with your food. We liked triangles of even sizes as well as triangles with multiple uneven sizes, stacked vertically.

3) Secure with toothpicks and top with chopped cilantro, a pinch-ette of salt and a half-teaspoon of the mango-chile syrup.
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Soundtrack: Donovan's "Mellow Yellow"

 
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