Hello, Jicama!

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I must sheepishly admit that ever since the first day of Spring a few weeks ago our grill has not seen a day off. It seems that our menus at home have been created, modified, planned and changed in order to accommodate outdoor cooking. It's not as if good weather is fleeting, at least not here in Los Angeles. But I just can't help it. Grilling is one of life's greatest pleasures. It's the culmination of great food, wonderful company, sunshine, flip flops and a few beers. Or several.

No matter what we've thrown on the grill, there's always one constant: Jicama Salad. I wish I could pinpoint when my love affair with this bulbous root began, but suffice it to say that the cool sweet crunch pairs well with just about anything you barbeque. Grilled fish? It's fabulous. Ribs slathered in sauce? Yep. Smoky grilled vegetables hot off the grill? Of course.

Jicama is a root vegetable that's native to Mexico and South America. It's fabulous both raw and cooked, and the best part is that it happily retains the crunch when cooked. Just peel this less-than-attractive knobby bulb and use it to your heart's desire. It's especially delicious in salads and stir fries.

Jicama Slaw
I adore this recipe. It doesn't require exact amounts of anything (my favorite way of cooking) and always comes out just right.

2 cups shredded jicama
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded & shredded
1/2 carrot, finely shredded
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1 finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the vinegar, lime juice and olive oil and set aside. With a cheesecloth or a thin towel, squeeze the excess water from the jicama, cucumber and carrots. In a large bowl, combine the jicama, cucumber and carrots with the bell pepper, shallot and cilantro. Toss with the vinegar mixture and coat well, allowing to sit for 15 minutes. Toss before serving.

8 Responses to “Hello, Jicama!”

  1. Anonymous melissamcgee 

    matt, this looks just delicious, and i'll definitely be making this, probably this weekend for our easter barbecue! we're having ribs i believe, and as you mentioned, this will pair beautifully!

    a question - when you prepare this for guests, do you actually shred the jicama, or do you julienne the jicama? the photo looks like it's all julienned, but i wasn't sure if it was for presentational/photographic reasons, or if that's the best way to serve it. would it be friendlier to eat shredded? does it retain all of it's body when it's shredded?

    so many questions about the mysterious jicama!!! but none better to go to for answers than matt armendariz, food demi-god.

  2. Anonymous bea at La Tartine Gourmande 

    Nice. I always always love to discover a root and ingredient I do not know well. The beauty of all sorts of cuisines and cooking! You are torturing with this pic. What island do you live on??? I was in LA on my way back from New Zealand in Feb, and we could swim in the hotel pool we stayed for transit. And I thought "Man, this feels good in February in the Northern hemisphere!"

  3. Anonymous Alanna 

    Great way to use jicama -- and YES a gorgeous photo! AK

  4. Anonymous Sally 

    I'm not sure if I've ever had jicama before, but my daughter (who has) says that kholarabi tastes very much like it. Since I grow kholarabi every year, I'm going to try this recipe using that. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous Dianka3103 

    I love jicama as well and this salad looks perfect. I live in LA too and I am ready to fire up our grill as well but the rain is NOT stopping! Hopefully it will soon...


  6. Anonymous MM 

    My mum was a hippy and would not let me have any sweets growing up. But what she did give me was jicama crudites in lieu of sweets. I love the stuff and we even have it in a salad but with a dark sweet sauce, peanuts and a little sliced chilli for heat. Yummers!

  7. Anonymous Kim 

    I am so in love with Jicima, mom adds it to salads all the time, but if she has it julienned, in a bowl, I will it all! It is crunch, tasty!

  8. Anonymous Josh 

    I just made this; it was tasty, but much improved with the addition of about a teaspoon of sugar and some salt.

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About me

  • I'm Matt Armendariz
  • From Los Angeles, California
  • A man with a passion for good food and a wonderful life with a dash of irreverence. Read at your own risk. Advertising director by day, wino by night. All photos on this site by Matt Armendariz.
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