One of my more recent food love affairs has been with jicama. I did a little research on it before using in a recipe for Cooking Matters (wonderful cooking/nutrition class program I volunteer with) and found that one medium sized jicama contains 32 grams of fiber! Not that you could really eat a whole jicama in one sitting, but wow that is a great source of fiber. If you haven't had it before, it tastes sort of like a mix of asian pear, potato and apple...crisp and refreshing.
I chose this recipe from the all time great Moosewood Cookbook...when in doubt, look in the Moosewood for a good recipe. I was looking for a nice light recipe for E and I to make for dinner one night, and came across this. It makes such a beautiful presentation!
One thing I must say is that jicama is a little challenging to work with, in regards to peeling it. If anyone has a better method than this, please let me know. But I simply used a vegetable peeler to take it off. It is a pretty thick skin, but once you peel it, it gets easier to handle. I once had it at a potluck, cut into big chunks with lime juice and cayenne....a great mix of flavors were addressed with that recipe.
A few notes about recipe: I would recommend cutting this recipe in half if you are just making it for two of you. It makes a lot of salad. I sliced the jicama by cutting into large chunks and put in food processor with the big round slicing blade. A mandoline would also work really well. If you don't have either, using a knife to slice into whatever shape you like will be just fine...it all tastes the same anyway! For the lettuce component, I chose belgian endive because I thought the reddish purple is such a rare color in a dish, and would add a nice element. But you could really use any kind of lettuce or green.
I learned a helpful tip tonight at a cooking class I was assisting. When making vinaigrette dressings, always add the oil last. First of all, to allow all the other ingredients to marry their flavors, because the oil can inhibit that. Second of all, you'll want to drizzle the oil in, while simultaneously whisking the juice/vinegar mixture, to make a sort of emulsion.
Jicama, Orange and Fennel Salad
From the Moosewood Cookbook
Yields 4-6 servings
4 navel oranges
1 medium jicama
1 small fennel bulb (with tops removed)
1 small belgian endive
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp honey
4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper and fresh parsley to garnish
With a sharp serrated knife, cut off the ends of the oranges and slice the peel off from the sides. Gently cut the sections apart, using a sawing motion. Take out seeds if there are any. Set aside.
Peel the jicama with a vegetable peeler and cut into chunks. Use food precessor slicing blade, mandoline or simply cut into thin slices. Slice the fennel into thin strips.
Whisk all dressing ingredients (except the olive oil) together in a small bowl, until the honey is dissolved. (Sometimes I microwave the honey in the bowl by itself for 5 or so seconds so it will integrate nicely). Once this is all combined, slowly drizzle the oil in, while simultaneously whisking the juice/vinegar mixture.
Assemble the salad on individual plates or platter right before serving. Put a layer of endive leaves first. Then the jicama. Drizzle a little dressing on this layer. Sprinkle with fennel and then arrange orange sections on top. Spoon a little more dressing onto it. Garnish with salt, pepper and chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!