Monday, September 17, 2007

Re-discovering Jicama...

Do you ever forget that you really liked a certain food or ingredient and wonder why you don't use it more often? It happened to me today when I made this Jicama-Apple Slaw as a side for dinner tonight.

The first time we tried Jicama was a couple years ago when we made a Mexican Salad with Pomegranate-Lime Dressing and we loved its crisp texture and intriguing flavor. Jicama (also labeled or called Yam Bean) has a very homely appearance and kind of looks like a bulbous sweet potato on the outside, yet has a bright potato-like interior and is slightly sweet. The moist texture of the Jicama meat is very reminiscent of water-chestnuts if you've never eaten one. As you go to peel it, you may notice a light brown and very fibrous flesh that you will also want to remove when preparing it.

This recipe was a snap to throw together and most of the work happens in a food processor - however, it should be done close to the serving time as it may get a little soggy if it sits around too long. Dressing the shredded sweet jicama and tart Granny Smith apples is a mixture of fresh cilantro, mint, jalapeƱo for a bit of spice, a dash of sugar, salt, ground cumin, tangy lime juice and olive oil. A couple navel oranges are segmented over the work bowl with the slaw so their succulent juices drip down into the mixture to add a bit more sweetness to soften the tart lime flavor. Adding a buttery richness, chunky pieces of avocado are tossed into the crisp slaw and the dish is ready to serve. Light, clean and refreshing, the bright flavor from the cilantro and mint in the dressing was a delightful combination and helped us re-discover this vegetable.

Jicama-Apple SlawTo go along with the slaw, I made a recipe for Chicken Breasts with Creole Mustard-Orange Sauce. The original recipe did call for chicken thighs, which I'm not opposed to using, but I had a ton of chicken breasts already in the freezer to use. This is a dead easy recipe - the chicken breasts are first browned on each side and then simmered in fresh squeezed orange juice and chicken broth to keep them juicy. Once the chicken is cooked through, a mixture of grainy Dijon mustard, sweet honey and cayenne pepper sauce are whisked into the remaining orange juice and broth mixture. This is brought to a rapid bubble and allowed to cook until it thickens - mine ended up being a tad thick as I got distracted, but it still worked out and left us with a generous amount of sauce. I probably should have served this over rice, but we had no problem taking care of any leftover sauce! (Yes, guilty of licking the plate clean!) In this dish for two, the grainy mustard's tang shined through the sweet, yet slightly spicy sauce and was a great way to change up plain 'ol chicken. Feel free to double the recipe if you are serving more.


  1. Those chicken breasts looks really good. Also I never used Jicama before. Maybe something to start using. That salad sound interesting.

  2. Right you are! I'm tossing a jicama in the shopping basket next time I'm in the store. Thanks for reminding me how tasty they are beneath that rough exterior.

  3. Helene - They were very good, especially with how quick it came together!

    Amy - good to hear! Hope you enjoy!