I’m sort of newly obsessed with this nearby market. It’s Greek-owned, so they have all my random Greek food needs, but it’s in an ethnically diverse area, so there’s a lot of other ethnic staples, too. They have a killer produce section, but it’s definitely random. On any given day, you may be able to find cactus and 8 kinds of peppers , but no blueberries. My theory is they just stock the fresh, in-season items and don’t bother with the crap. If you go to my local Jewel or Dominick’s you will see they, in fact, stock a crapton of crap. The fruits are all bruised, the veggies wilted, the greens more brownish.
I was perusing the market when I noticed they had jicama. I’ve really liked jicama the times I’ve had it in restaurants, but I’ve never made anything with it myself. Initially I picked up the poblano because–well, I love poblanos and if they’re in my house, they will definitely get used–but mainly because I planned on cutting it into julienne strips and making a slaw with the jicama. When it came time to make the slaw the next day, though, I thought it would be a better idea to use it in the dressing so the flavor would run all through the slaw. Poblanos are one of my favorite peppers. They are more earthy than spicy but do have just a bit of a kick.
If you’ve never had jicama, you should. It’s starchy like a potato and crisp like an apple. And it sort of looks like a turnip. What does it taste like? Well…err kind of like all three? OK, not quite. It’s certainly not as sweet as an apple, but it is a little sweeter than a potato. Its crispness makes it great in slaws, or for adding extra texture to other dishes. And the fiber content? Ummm….wow. It’s like super duper mega fiber deluxe. I think Jamie Lee Curtis should forget Activia and start pushing jicama. A medium jicama has nearly 33 grams of fiber. Yep, you heard me. That is a day’s worth of fiber in one item.
When I made this for dinner, we had it with some roasted shrimp I had marinated in a mixture of lime juice, canola oil and seasoning, as well as some black beans. When I was packing up my leftovers for lunch I decided to just combine the shrimp and slaw because I knew it was easier that way, plus, I didn’t want to overcook the shrimp by reheating it. This worked out perfectly, so if you are looking for a summer salad of sorts, something to take to a picnic or a barbecue that has a protein in it, that would be a great idea. In that scenario I might just steam the shrimp to make it easier, since it will be tossed with the dressing, anyway.
Jicama Slaw with Roasted Poblano Dressing
1 large poblano pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of two limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup canola oil
1 jicama, peeled and sliced into 2-3″ matchsticks
3 cups shredded cabbage
2 small or medium carrots, cut into matchsticks or ribbons
cilantro, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper
Over a gas burner or in your broiler, roast the poblano until charred on all sides. Place in a nonreactive bowl or paper bag (cover with plastic wrap if using the bowl) and let cool. Peel the poblano, and then chop coarsely.
In a small food processor bowl, combine the poblano, garlic, lime juice, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper. (Note: you can use the cilantro in the dressing, if desired, or just toss with the salad instead.) Pulse until combined and then slowly stream in canola oil to emulsify. Season to taste if necessary.
In a large bowl, mix together the jicama, cabbage, carrots (and cilantro, if desired). Toss with the dressing.