And the answer IS – jicama!
Or jica-huh? As my mother said when I tried to explain to her what I was making for dinner the other day. Jicama is a root vegetable that is also known as a yam bean or Mexican turnip. I’d always heard of it referred to as a cross between an apple and a potato. I really had no concept of what such a thing would taste like until I bit into it. And yeah, that description is pretty much perfect. Jicama is used mostly in fresh fruit salads because of its crisp texture and semi-sweet taste, but like any good root vegetable, it can also be mashed, baked, or fried. It’s also a really good substitute for water chestnuts in stir fries. Jicama has a ridiculous amount of vitamin C so it is very good for you. Also, it is frequently fed to diabetics in place of potatoes because of the fact that humans can’t process the main carbohydrate in it, and so it can’t raise your blood sugar.
I picked up this nice little jicama at MIT’s produce stand. I like how they occasionally have interesting vegetables for me to play with. The only problem once I had it was in deciding what to do with it. After scanning the net for a while, I chose to go with a basic veggie salad side dish. Although I have a vendetta against conventional lettuce salads, I love salads that offer a variety of textures and flavors. The recipe I used came from Simply Recipes and called for a simple lime juice dressing, which I used on the first night that I ate it. The acid was a little much for my stomach lining and so the next night, I used Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger dressing which is my favorite dressing of all time. It was lovely.
1 medium jicama, chopped into small cubes,
2 bell peppers, chopped into small cubes
1 large red onion, chopped into small cubes
1 mango, chopped into small cubes (I used a champagne mango!)
1 small cucumber
1/2 avocado (for 2 servings – use a whole one for 4)
1/2 cup cilantro
1/3 cup lime juice
a pinch of cayenne and paprika
salt, to taste
1. Cut everything. This will take about a half hour, unless your knife breaks when try to plunge it into the red onion (as mine did) in which case, all bets are off.
2. Toss everything together and let it marinate for a half hour in the fridge before serving.