Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jicama Salad with Mango

Jicama is a fun word to say (so is Francisco). For so long I pronounced it "yickama" or "jicama" (with the sound of the j), until one night when I ate at a yummy Spanish/Latin restaurant in Annapolis with Greg and some friends. My friend and I ordered and shared a dish with jicama. My friend and I told the waitress how much we liked the "yickama," and we kept repeating the mispronunciation until finally the waitress corrected us! It is pronounced with an 'h' instead of a 'j.'

Jicama is also known as a Mexican potato and it is an ingredient found in latin cooking. I love the texture and taste of jicama, especially in salads. The other night my mom asked me and Greg to join the rest of the family at the new Wegman's in Columbia for dinner. At first I wasn't too excited about the idea, until I got online and read the menu. I saw the jicama salad on the online menu, and I knew I needed to have some. The salad did not disappoint. Cool, crisp, refreshing, and light - it had jicama, pineapple, and cucumber in a tasty lime dressing.

As we were leaving the store, I bought a jicama (my first jicama purchase ever)! I found the recipe in the Wegman's catalogue and I reproduced it with some changes. I didn't feel like dealing with a pineapple, so I used mango. I also added some carrots and added a bit of red pepper flakes to the dressing, then topped with whole raw cashews. Greg likened it to a papaya salad, but better. The salad was sweet but not too sweet, spicy but not too spicy - it was just right!

Recipe for Jicama Salad with Mango
For the salad:
1 medium jicama, peeled and grated with largest grate on a box grater
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin 1-inch slices
1 small carrot, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, then peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler
1 medium mango, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Whole raw cashews or cashew pieces, for sprinkling on each salad
For the dressing:
3 limes, juiced
Zest of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 Tbsp. of honey
1 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes (more or less as desired)
1/2 tsp. of sweet chili sauce (optional)

Make the dressing first. In a smallish bowl, combine the lime juice, lime zest, honey, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and sweet chili sauce. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Add the grated jicama to a large bowl. Pour dressing over the jicama and toss well. Cover bowl and put in the fridge for an hour or more. About 15 - 20 minutes before serving, add in the cubed mango, sliced cucumber, and carrot strips. Toss together and then put bowl back in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Serve salad on individual dishes and top each dish with whole raw cashews or cashew pieces.

Recipe Adapted from: Wegmans Catalogue