I wasn't very familiar with jicama until a few years ago when a friend made a salad that had loads of jicama and a great crunch. I still don't use it that often because I rarely think of it, but I did enjoy it in a kamut pilaf recently. It's perfect for giving things a good crunchy texture, and goes with almost anything because it doesn't have much of a flavor on its own (although I recently heard it compared to an apple-pear). When I saw this salad in this month's cookbook, I knew that I had to give it a shot.
Jicama and orange salad (adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics")
1 small jicama, cut into thin sticks
4 navel oranges, peeled and sections cut out (leaving membrane between sections behind)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, and let sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Serves 5.
I've enjoyed this, although I think it's missing something and I can't figure out what. The ratio of jicama to orange is low (perhaps my jicama was too big?) so it's a little bit bland. Perhaps using cayenne instead of chili powder would give it more of what it needs. I can also see adding a grain (rice? wheat berries? kamut? barley?) or another fruit (grapes?) to give it a bit more substance. But, that being said, I've still been enjoying this as a snack. It's particularly good on a warm day when you want something cool and crunchy.