Note: You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing fruits and vegetables.
Technically speaking, the December holidays are over, so I don't owe you any more light, healthy meal ideas. Figuratively speaking, however, there's that darned overstuffed burrito in the room. Namely, me. And judging from the swarms of new faces at the gym this past week, perhaps some of you, too. I mean that in the nicest possible way.
I'm sorry, did someone say burrito?
Normally that would remind me of how much I like burritos. But with food resolutions on the mind and winter produce in the crisper, today it puts me in mind of a lovely little jícama salad that doubles as a light meal and a no-cook Super Bowl party side dish. January, you don't stand a chance.
Jícama is a tropical tuber found in many Latin American and East Asian cuisines. With a taste and texture somewhere between an apple and a potato, it can be eaten raw in salads and slaws or cooked (often stir-fried or boiled and mashed). Its mildly sweet flavor holds its own against spicy and acidic ingredients, and its crispness complements fattier foods beautifully.
It's best to peel jícama with a paring knife, since it has a thickish, fibrous layer underneath the skin that you'll want to discard with the peel. It will oxidize and turn brown over time, but not as quickly as you might think. With all the lime and orange juice in the recipe below, this salad can sit on a buffet for quite a while and still look good enough to eat.
What about you, serious eaters? What's your favorite way to eat jícama?
Jícama, Black Bean and Corn Salad
Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine, July 2004.
- 1 clove garlic, smashed to a paste with a big pinch of salt
- Grated zest of 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 big squirt of Sriracha sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine), boiled until just tender and drained
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup peeled, diced jícama
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic paste, lime zest and juice, orange juice, cumin, Sriracha, and olive oil.
Add the corn, bell pepper, beans, jicama, avocado, scallions, and cilantro, and toss gently to combine. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper, and Sriracha to taste. Serve as a light meal or a side dish.