It seems that everywhere I went on a recent trip to the Yucatan, there was some version of jicama-orange salad. I was completely drawn to its mix of sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy. I never even knew I liked jicama, and then found myself on the quick track to jicama conversion.
The food of the Yucatan is a far cry from tacos and enchiladas–the Mexican food I grew up with. Over the centuries Mayan food has been influenced by Spain, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean; it’s unique, surprising, and lovely.
When I got home from my trip I had to try my hand at a jicama-orange salad. I based my New York version on a recipe from the awesome Yucatan regional cookbook, Mayan Cuisine (Gibbs Smith, 2008) by Daniel Hoyer.
It might not have tasted quite the same without silty, white glowing sand stuck between my toes and the near promise of a turquoise swim, but it still tasted pretty good. Even in Brooklyn, I remain a jicama convert.
1/2 cup sour orange juice OR 3/8 cup lime juice with 2 tablespoons mild vinegar
1 small clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and finely minced
1 or 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced in rounds
Generous pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon orange zest, chopped fine
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro or mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jicama, peeled and cut into thin slices, sticks or chunks
2 to 3 sweet oranges or other citrus, peeled with a knife and sectioned
1 red onion, peeled, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
1. Combine all of the dressing components 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
2. Arrange the salad in a bowl or serving plater.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad to cover.
4. Serve cool, but not overly chilled for the best flavor.