Ensalada Xec is a crisp and refreshing salad from the Yucatan Peninsula. More than any other region in Mexico, much of its unique cuisine is influenced by its strong Mayans roots and isolated location on the Caribbean Sea, and less so by Spanish “guests” like the rest of the country. One interesting vegetable ingredient that represents this indigenous lineage beautifully is Jicama.
Jicama (Hick-a-muh) is a fleshy underground tuber that looks similar to a turnip or a large radish, but tastes more like a cross between an apple and a water chestnut. Although native to Mexico and South America, this “Mexican Potato” was adopted by the 16th century Spanish and Portuguese for use on their transatlantic trips as it stores well, can be eaten raw, and is thirst quenching. Beyond Mexico, Jicama has made its way into the cuisines of the United States and South China. These crunchy tubers can grow to 6 pounds (2.7 kg)!
Ensalada Xec – Mayan Citrus and Jicama Salad
- Covered bowl
- 1 lb Jicama
- 2 large Navel oranges, sectioned
- 3 large Mandarin oranges, sectioned
- 2 large Pink/red grapefruits, sectioned
- 2 medium Limes
- 4 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
- 1 Habanero pepper, finely chopped
- ½ tsp Sea or Kosher salt
- Peel Jicama and slice into small sticks. Put in a covered bowl, squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, toss, cover, and refrigerate.
- Peel and cut out section of citrus fruits. Be sure to remove any of the bitter white pith. Place sections in a large bowl and squeeze any remaining juice on top.
- Add cilantro and hot pepper to the same bowl. Gently mix everything together.
- Add chilled Jicama sticks to the bowl, toss well and top with salt.
- Habanero pepper are very hot. Heat can be reduced by removing any seeds and cutting out the ribs or just using half.
- If Habaneros (similar to Scotch Bonnets) aren’t available, a single Jalapeno or serrano pepper may be substituted.
- Whatever you do, don’t rub your eyes after cutting peppers.