Clementine Jicama Salad

Monday, October 26, 2009

For Trajan's birthday party, I decided to do southwestern flavors because that's his favorite. A few of you loved the recipes, so I'm sharing via the blog of course. This one is a great fall salad that offers the crisp, light flavors you usually crave during summer months. I love it because it's a welcomed departure from the usual suspects of fall (apples, cinnamon, squash). I snagged this recipe from Gourmet magazine's Thanksgiving issue of last year (2008).

Clementine Jicama Salad
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
8 clementines, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 lb jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick matchsticks
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup packed cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or mild feta
1/3 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds, toasted

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt, then whisk together with lime juice, oil, sugar and 1/2 tsp pepper in a large bowl.

Just before serving, add clementines, jicama, onion and cilantro and gently toss. Season with salt. Sprinkle with cheese and pumpkin seeds.

My Notes:
Clementines are a late-fall/winter fruit, so if you're doing this recipe in September or October, you're not going to find clementines. You can substitute oranges (Valencia oragnes are my favorite because they're sweeter) or even a can of drained mandarin oranges. If using the Valencia oranges (or any orange for that matter), cut back on the lime juice by half and do a full tsp of sugar in order to balance out the sweetness to tartness. Clementines themselves are very sweet and have a lovely honey taste to them, so make sure you taste your oranges before hand to gage how sweet or sour they are and balance out with sugar (or honey!) accordingly.

I used honey instead of sugar when I made this recipe. Since I couldn't find clementines, I used Valencia oranges and added a tablespoon of orange honey to the vinaigrette to balance out that sweetness.

The recipe calls to leave the cilantro sprigs on the stem and leaves whole. If you love cilantro (which I personally do), then do that. If not, or if making for guests, then take the cilantro off the stems and give a rough chop so the flavor isn't as intense.

I made the components of the salad (jicama, oranges, cilantro and onion) a head of time and stored in a bowl in the fridge for 5 hours before, and made the vinaigrette seperately. Then I tossed it all together and garnished before serving. This is a great recipe for a party or Make Ahead.

The queso fresco should be grated if using, and if using feta, then crumble it with your fingers.

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