In the first week of October, my sister came to visit us for three days. Of course, I wanted to be a good host and cook something that she would enjoy. The problem is that, although we grew in the same home, we are very different, especially when it comes to the culinary taste. As a child, she was the biggest picky eater any mother could imagine and, unfortunately, she has stayed that way. If you can imagine a person cutting the fat out of a perfectly lean prosciutto, that would be her. Almost in every dish there would be something that she finds "suspicious".
After going through hundreds of dinner ideas, I got discouraged and decided to go with the flow. My refrigerator is always full, especially now when I write a food blog, and any accidental guest can find something attractive there. When on a sunny day I was shooting my herring salad on the deck she did not even look in that direction; she has never had a piece of fish or any sea food in her mouth. Later that day I made a salad, also to take pictures of it. Surprisingly, it instantly became a culinary highlight of her visit. It would not be an exaggeration to say that she ate almost the whole huge bowl by herself over these three days. This salad blends perfectly the familiar with the exotic: our old good cabbage and beets with jicama and avocado that come from a completely different world. Jicama is the least known ingredient, which tastes like a mix of a pear and a radish, but more subtle than any of the two.
I was intrigued by this recipe from the moment I saw it probably already ten years ago. Since my cabbage recipe has been on of my biggest hits so far, from Mauritius to Copenhagen, I think it is a good moment to share this salad with those who check this blog.
At first, it seems that this salad won't be easy to make because it includes too many ingredients, not to mention two dressings, but most of them are either in our kitchens already or can be easily found in every supermarket. I modified slightly the original recipe by making the avocado dressing more thick and spicy, which turns this salad into a wonderful lunch meal in itself.
Jicama Purple Salad
(Serves 4-6; adapted from "Mexico: The Beautiful Cookbook")
1/2 jicama cut into thin sticks (about 1 cup),
1 lb red cabbage (about half of the medium-sized head) thinly sliced,
1 medium raw beet thinly sliced (if you have a julienne slicer it would work best)
1/2 medium onion tiny sliced,
1 bag (6-8 oz) baby spinach,
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds.
2 tsp soy sauce,
1/2 cup corn oil,
2 tbsp cider vinegar,
1 tsp dried vegetable bouillon,
1 tsp dried oregano,
1 tsp dried tarragon.
2 avocados flesh,
2 garlic cloves minced,
2 tbsp lime juice,
1 cup sour cream,
1 tbsp chopped chives,
salt and pepper.
1. In a large bowl mix cabbage, beet, spinach, onion, and jicama.
2. Prepare the oil dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a a small bowl.
3. To make the avocado dressing, puree avocado,lemon, and cream in a blender. Transfer to another bowl. Add chives and season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour the oil dressing over the vegetables and mix until all are covered with it. Add sesame seeds and mix again.
5. Serve on individual plates with a couple of spoons of the avocado dressing on top.
This salad can be eaten just with bread or to accompany roasted or grilled meats.