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Recipe: Mango-es crazy for this copycat recipe!

April 18, 2009

We go to this little restaurant, called The Black Walnut Cafe, that reminds me a lot of one of those old Victorian men’s clubs. The ones where women are forbidden, cigars are required, and bourbon is abundant. Lots of wood paneling, turn of the century wheel-and-pulley powered fans, and plush seats. The food is anything but stuck in the past, though. It has something for whatever you are craving – Mexican, Italian, American, etc. – all served bistro style. My biggest draw are the pancakes, Mango Pasta Salad, and breakfast burritos. O. M. G. At $2 each, the pancakes and burritos are nothing if not completely worth it as a weekly treat. At $12, the Mango Pasta Salad is something I can’t treat myself to very often. (I know that may sound cheap to some of you, but I also have to add two other people to that final tab; and I’ll admit, we’re not balling.)

So the last time I was at the restaurant, I chewed as slooooowly as I could and wrote down all of the flavors that hit my tongue, as well as how strong they were. I looked like a nut, but to me, my “cow chewing the cud” impression looked more like a connoisseur of food judging her latest acquisition. I hope. Later, I went to our market (which actually bought out the restaurant a little while ago, small world) and grabbed everything I needed.

BLACK WALNUT CAFE’s Mango Pasta Salad Copycat

Servings: 1 large or 2 satisfying

1 cup cooked pasta (2oz dry, BW uses bowtie, any interesting looking pasta is good)

4 large fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp olive oil

1 mango, peeled, diced and pit removed
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water
1/2 Tbsp white wine (optional)
1/2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, rough chopped

3 strawberries, sliced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced

large bowl of ice water

Directions (This is going to be a dance of time management.)
1. Boil water for the pasta. Peel and de-vein the shrimp and cover them with the garlic and pepper. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the directions. While the pasta cooks, heat a pan with the olive oil on medium to medium-low heat adding the shrimp when hot. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes on each side. Uncover and let the shrimp cool, off of the heat source.
NOW, drain the pasta and toss it into the ice water to stop it from cooking anymore. Swirl it around and drain from the ice water. Set aside.
2. In a blender, uh, blend half of the mango, honey, water, wine for 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro.
3. This is a cold dish, so make sure the shrimp isn’t hot. Warm is okay, though. Toss the blended mango sauce, pasta, shrimp, and fruit together. Garnish with cilantro or a strawberry.

Success! I spent a bit over $6 for one serving using very fresh shrimp and all natural/organic ingredients. It is the perfect litte dish for a hot day, and there are A LOT of those in Texas!


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