Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tangy Jicama Salad

by Ann

When the weather warms up we eat a lot of salads.  Years ago I had “jicama coleslaw” at an upscale Mexican restaurant that I haven’t forgotten about.  I am pretty good at analyzing the ingredients in recipes to try to duplicate them at home, but too much time passed for me to try to recreate the slaw I found so delicious.

I was thrilled when I came across the recipe I am sharing today because it is oh-so-tasty, easy and very healthy.  If my memory serves me, most of the ingredients were those in the slaw that I enjoyed years ago.  There is a chance that some of you that live outside the southwest might not be familiar with jicamas.  They are root vegetables with a mild, somewhat sweet flavor.  I've heard them referred to as “Mexican Potatoes,” but they look more like potatoes than taste like them.  The consistency and sweetness is reminiscent of apples.

The key to getting this recipe right is uniformly sized pieces of jicama, apple, and red pepper.  Think of old-fashioned wooden matchsticks, and have that be the goal size.  To do this a very sharp knife is useful.  Lucky for me that I had just brought my knives to Sur la Table for sharpening!  (Yet another perk of my Kitchen Assistant job…)

You can't get much fresher than these ingredients!

Tangy Jicama Salad
1 large jicama, peeled and cut into shoestrings
1 apple, cored and cut into shoestrings
1 red bell pepper, cut into shoestrings
1 serrano chili, minced
1 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 T freshly chopped chives (I used scallions and it was fine)
juice of one very ripe lemon

Cut the first three ingredients as closely in size as possible.  You will need a mandolin or very sharp knife to get these ingredients cut into slivers as close to wooden match-stick sized as possible.  (It would NOT work to grate them!)
Clean and mince the chili, leaving seeds in if you like heat
Roughly chop the leaves of cilantro
Finely chop the chives (or scallion)
Squeeze the lemon over the mixture and toss.
This fresh, delicious salad will keep refrigerated for a few days.

Laying on top of the slices is the "prototype" matchstick that I gave my hubby, the "chopper" to use as a guide for the size to cut the jicama, apple, and red pepper.

This salad is a perfect accompaniment to Mexican food in place of rice and beans.  Hey -- there needs to be something on the plate that isn't filled with fat grams!

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