Jicama and Mango Salad with Jalapeño Lime Dressing

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Jicama, when you buy it, looks and feels like a small planet. It’s big, it’s round, it’s hard. I almost put it back and thought about using something else as a first course for my friend Diana’s birthday dinner (during which I served a Smoky Beef Chili; that’s the next post) but the Jicama Mango salad I chose from a Rick Bayless cookbook was too perfect a choice to reject because of a big, scary jicama. So I brought the jicama home and turned to Twitter for advice.

Here’s the jicama on my cutting board.

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Here’s what I asked on Twitter:

Here’s some of the advice I received:

I decided to peel it with a sharp knife, a process that went smoothly.

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Actually I did this right before serving the salad because according to Twitter, jicama can dry out. The dressing I’d made ahead (it couldn’t have been easier): vegetable oil and olive oil go into a blender along with lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and a jalapeño that’s stemmed and seeded. Oh a pinch of salt, too, for good measure.

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Blend it on high for 30 seconds until it’s smooth. There’s your dressing.

Then slice your jicama into thick wedges….

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…and slice each wedge into sticks.

To finish the salad, you toss the jicama with arugula (watercress is what the recipe calls for but that was too much work for the amount of time I had) and ripe mango strips and the dressing. Then crumble goat cheese on top.

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The jicama is crunchy but not too sweet; sort of like a pear with potato DNA. The dressing is bright and acidic and just spicy enough. The mango freshens things up and the goat cheese gives a good creamy tang. All in all, this is a great salad to make if you’re making Mexican food for dinner.

Thanks, Twitter, for teaching me the ways of the jicama…I shall be intimidated no more.

Recipe: Jicama and Mango Salad with Lime Jalapeño Dressing

Summary: From Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil, olive oil, or a combination of the two (which is what I did)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • Grated lime zest from one of the limes
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeño, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 medium, firm jicama, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1 ripe mango, cut into strips
  • Two or three handfuls of arugula
  • Goat cheese (for crumbling on top)

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing by combining the oil, the lime juice, the lime zest, the cilantro, the jalapeño and a pinch of salt in a blender on medium/high speed until emulsified and creamy. Taste for seasoning.
  2. To make the salad, toss the jicama, the mango and the arugula together in a large bowl with some of the dressing. Keep adding dressing to taste until it’s wonderful (I apply dressing with a heavy hand).
  3. Lift on to chilled plates and crumble the goat cheese on top. Serve right away.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 4

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