22 April 2011

Orange Jicama Salad

Pardon my absence...there is no excuse. 

This week I was over at my friend's house to cook dinner for her family, which included her mother-in-law and husband, as well as her adorable and entertaining 92 year old grandpa. I wanted something easy to bring over that I could prepare in advance and she wanted a theme meal. Since I already had a huge pot of beans cooked and another equally large pot of Spanish rice, I went with Cook's Illustrated Lighter Chicken Enchiladas. That alone would have been enough, but I wanted something to break up the richness of the meal, so I went in search of a good accompaniment and happened up this jicama salad (I got inspired by my cousin who mentioned on Facebook that she was making a jicama salad last week). I had to omit the fresh jalapeno from the main dish, but made a side one for those of us who like spice. Good thing, too, because I managed to pick out a very hot jalapeno. 

Just as refreshing and delicious as it looks. I used Cara Cara oranges (I think!), which have a beautiful red-orange flesh and really add a pop of extra color to this dish. They are less acidic, as well.

In my version, I omitted the scallions that should top it because we had one person who is sensitive to uncooked onions. I really don't see a need for them, to be honest. This salad could stand alone as a side dish or even be good with some grilled steak--like a nice flank steak. Oh boy, I can't wait for summer grilling! I also must say, this salad keeps pretty well for a couple of days, although it will lack the crunch of a freshly prepared salad. 

Orange Jicama Salad with Sweet and Spicy Peppers
from Cook's Illustrated

3 medium oranges (peel with knife to the flesh and cut into bite-sized pieces)
3 tablespoons lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin , toasted in small dry skillet until fragrant, about 30 seconds
Table salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium jicama (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks (about 4 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium jalapeño chiles, quartered lengthwise, seeded, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped coarse
3 medium scallions, green parts sliced thin on bias

1. Place orange pieces in nonreactive mesh strainer set over bowl; let stand to drain excess juice. Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, mustard, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon salt in large bowl until combined. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil.

2. Toss jícama and red bell pepper with 1/8 teaspoon salt in medium bowl until combined. Add jícama mixture, oranges, jalapeños, cilantro, and scallions to bowl with dressing and toss well to combine. Divide among individual plates, drizzle with any dressing in bowl, and serve immediately.