Jicama is a crispy root with a light flavor that lends itself well to summer salads, or as a crunchy snack with dip on a veggie platter.
You Know some Ancient Nahuatl
Epazote, avocado, and jicama are all plants that were cultivated in MesoAmerica at the time the Spanish Conquest, and what they are called today comes to us directly from the Nahuatl names for them. We are going to use both jicama and avocado in this roots & fruits salad.
The Best Kitchen Tool
In several of my Savor the Southwest YouTube videos, I mention that the best tool for any kitchen is your brain. It takes time to get used to using this tool, and there is some training involved. You do have to work at remembering flavors, also remember how dishes are put together. Reading cookbooks is another good way to train your brain to work better in the kitchen.
Using memories of flavors, I made up this salad one day from what was on hand. Everyone loved the blend of flavors, so I have since made it many more times!
Roots & Fruits Salad with Jicama
1 pound jicama – roughly one large or 2 small 1 ruby red grapefruit 1 large avocado 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced
Roots & Fruits Dressing
2 teaspoons honey 2 Tablespoons lime juice (juice of one lime) 2 -3 Tablespoons grapefruit juice (reserved from processing the fruit) 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Jicama is easiest to get ready if you cut it in half first, then use a sharp paring knife to remove the peel. Cut in half, it doesn’t roll around so much as you pare it.
Once peel is removed, cut the jicama into “matchsticks.”
To do this, cut 1 /4 inch slices off the jicama, stack the slices in piles of 3 or 4, and cut each stack crosswise into 1 /4 inch matchsticks.
If some of the sticks seem too long, cut them in half.
Place in a large bowl.
Peel the grapefruit. Remove as much of the bitter white pith as you can. Separate into individual segments.
Carefully cut each segment into quarters and be sure to collect the juice for the dressing.
Add the cut grapefruit to the jicama bowl.
Halve the avocado and remove the pit.
While still in the skin, cut the avocado into pieces roughly the same size as the grapefruit pieces.
Scoop the avocado pieces into the bowl with jicama and grapefruit.
Make the Dressing
For the dressing, stir together the grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey, cayenne and salt. Mix well to dissolve honey completely.
Pour about half the dressing on the salad, toss gently and taste. Add more dressing if necessary. Top with cilantro and serve.
Unlike fruit salad, this does not improve with age. Best eaten fresh. Store any excess dressing in the refrigerator.
More about Jicama
Jícama should be stored dry, between 53 and 60 °F. Colder temperatures will damage the roots, and it is best if whole unpeeled jicama roots are not refrigerated. A fresh root stored at an appropriate temperature will keep for a month or two.
The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice, and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes.
In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jícama plant is very poisonous. Jicama seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to poison insects.
What do you think?!
Please leave your comments and ideas in the “reply” (= comment) section below.
Featured image: jicama
Try our cookbook: Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $7 online – or buy from Monica or Jacqueline in person. This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.
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