Mango is the perfect choice for fun spreads because in addition to the delicious sweetness, the presentation just rocks! The inside-out "hedgehog" (?!) style is most popular, a visual delight. Provocative, geometric and funky.
After all these years of eating mango, I'm still in the dark at how to pick the perfect mango. Still a guessing game - I'm good 5 out of 6. (Nothing WORSE than a bad rotten mango, yuck!) They should be firm but not rock hard, and shouldn't look obviously rotten (moldy, black, squishy and wet, ew). Depending on on the variety of mango, color varies.
There are many varieties of mango. My favorite is the Ataulfo Mango, aka Champagne Mango (ooh, name that says it all), originally from Mexico. It is in season NOW and should be available everywhere (well, almost everywhere). The flesh is a buttery intense flavor (actually, almost bubbly like champagne) and it is smooth, not as stringy like the other bigger, rounder, greener, redder mangoes.
How to cut mangoes "inside-out hedgehog" style:
(1) The mango has a big flat seed in the middle. Length side down, cut off the sides. Your knife will feel the seed, so just cut along side it, avoid cutting into the seed.
(2) Next, score/cut parallel lines horizontal and vertical into a nice checkerboard pattern, paying careful not to cut through the skin.
(3) Now flip it inside-out pushing from skin side.
Gorgeous, see?! Cut up many many plenty and arrange neatly on a platter. Side by side checkerboard hedgehog (sounds ridiculous, haha!) gives a dramatic effect...the curves, the lines, the shadows, the cubes...totally STUNNING design! I love it.
Eating mango, hedgehog style, can be tricky. The kids will devour happily since their nature is to seek tactile bliss in anything sticky and messy, ending up with orange mango faces:) It can be sloppy and inelegant, but if ripe, juicy and sweet enough, it is SO worth the drippy mess.
Now the more dignified approach is to not flip it inside-out, but use a spoon to scoop out the mango flesh kiwi-style. Nevertheless, equally mouthwatering!