My grandmother always added jicama to her salads and would slip me pieces while she worked at the cutting board. I craved this delectable tuber to the point of salivating just seeing the peeled white vegetable. One day, after spying my grandmother chopping jicama, I snuck up to the cutting board and stole a slice. To my horror, the jicama was hard and flavorless. What had happened to my juicy jicama? After admitting my guilt as a jicama-thief, my grandmother forgave me and told me the sad truth. It was raw potato. Justice was served, and I have since forgiven the potato for masquerading as jicama, and continue to enjoy raw jicama (and COOKED potatoes).
Jicama’s unique sweet starchy flavor and crunchy succulent texture make it stand out while still being adaptable to a variety of salad ingredients. I can’t think of anything that jicama doesn’t pair well with. This citrus jicama salad is a perfect blend of fresh ingredients that can be found during the winter months with a bright flavor that is reminiscent of summer. The combination of two cabbages, savoy and red, bring balance to the salad’s base. Savoy has a lighter flavor and a more delicate texture while the red cabbage provides a more distinct crunch. Fresh herbs provide a ton of flavor to salads, and cilantro perfectly pairs with citrus and jicama. The cabbages, jicama, and cilantro are tossed with a lime vinaigrette. The lime and honey provide just the right amount of sweet tang and the addition of shallots adds a hint of unexpected complexity. Using grapeseed oil, which is lighter in flavor to olive oil, provides the right texture to the dressing without overpowering the other flavors.
The salad is topped with supremed oranges. We’ve been eating a lot of cara cara oranges this winter. They have a beautiful slightly pink flesh, more reminiscent of a ruby red grapefruit, yet their flavor is sweet and slightly more complex than your typical naval orange. Tajin is the final addition to this salad. If you’re not familiar with taiin, it’s a seasoning blend commonly sprinkled on fresh fruits in Mexico. It’s a blend of chili, lime, and salt and it gives this salad and extra pop of flavor and spice.
If you haven’t supremed an orange before, I recommend these instructions. Jicama can be bought pre sliced, but it won’t be nearly as juicy as buying it fresh. I recommend carefully peeling it with a knife. Here you can find instructions for preparing the cabbage.
This recipe makes enough for four large salads. Adding your favorite protein (like grilled chicken or fish) will turn this into a complete meal. If you’re planning on serving this just as a side dish it makes enough for 8-10.
1 medium savoy cabbage
¼ to ½ medium red cabbage (see instructions)
2 medium jicamas
1 bunch cilantro
½ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 small shallot
1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Thinly shred the entire savoy cabbage. Thinly shred enough red cabbage so that you end up with 3 parts shredded savoy cabbage to 2 parts red cabbage (you should use about ¼ to ½ of the red cabbage).
- Peel the jicamas and cut into thick matchsticks (about ¼ to ½ inch thick).
- Coarsely chop the cilantro.
- Combine cabbages, jicama, and cilantro in a large bowl.
- Supreme the oranges and set aside in a separate bowl.
- Do not toss with dressing until ready to serve, as the color from the red cabbages will bleed.
- Finely mince the shallot.
- Combine the shallot in a small bottle or jar with the lime juice, honey, grapeseed oil, and salt.
- Shake dressing until completely emulsified.
- Add dressing to the large bowl and toss well.
- Dish the salad, and top individual plates with oranges.
- Sprinkle with tajin to taste.
I recommend cara cara oranges if they’re in season. Use fresh lime juice for the dressing. Bottled lime juice will not work as a substitute. Tajin seasoning can typically be found in the Hispanic food section of major grocery stores, in Mexican markets, or can be purchased online.