I rarely forget about food, but I do forget about foods. I'm prone to obsess over particular ingredients, using them with reckless abandon, and eventually halted only by Kevin's refusal to eat dinner (e.g., "a man can only eat so much cardamom?"...Kevin, December 2008). Then I ditch my darling (the ingredient, not Kevin) and move along to my next favorite thing.
So as I thumbed through magazines at the doctor's office this morning (I was afforded a delightful two-hour wait to catch up on the past three years of Redbook and Ladies Home & Garden), I was reminded of one of my favorites: jicama.
My mom introduced me to jicama as a child, adding it to cut up carrots and celery as a crisp snack. I loved the starchy-sweet flavor, elevated by mom's simple additions of Meyer lemon juice (from our backyard tree) and a sprinkle of salt (I need to remind her of her cutting-edge, Co-op ways). And I ate it often in grad school as it worked so well in salads yet had the budget-wise, grad-student highlights of cheapness and refrigerator longevity.
Cutting to the chase, I picked up some jicama on the way home from my appointment, as well as some kiwi that were on sale for 4/$1 (my inner grad student lives on!), and made a fresh salad. I hadn't planned on posting about his, but it looked so pretty, I had to take a picture and share. And in case you are still looking for ways to use up your summer basil crop, my lemon-basil vinaigrette is wicked delicious!
Jicama-Kiwi Salad with Fresh Basil Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes 1 generous serving (but you can double or triple)
2-1/2 cups assorted greens (e.g., spinach, arugula, mache), washed and spun dry
1 kiwifruit, peeled and halved lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
1/2 cup peeled, thinly sliced jicama (sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning)
2-3 tbsp broken walnut halves, toasted
Fresh Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Toss the greens, kiwifruit, and jicama in a shallow soup bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of the vinigrette to coat and sprinkle with walnuts. Serve at once.
Fresh Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & freshly cracked black pepper
Combine the basil, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil and lemon juice and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1/2 cup. (this will keep in the refrigerator, stored in a tightly-lidded jar, for about 5 days).