Saturday, March 8, 2014

Jicama Celery Salad


Wow, this was a surprisingly awesome salad. Surprising because I'd never made it before or even worked with jicama before. Too bad all we've got to look at is this half-demolished ruin...wait, people like looking at those, too, right? I'm just going to muse on the various things that went into this salad for this blog post, and the loose recipe is at the end.

Celery was the breakout star in this salad, to my surprise--actually, the celery's role in making the salad great was the big surprise. You need to make sure to peel off its stringy fibers, though, and then it's got a great crispness and doesn't get in the way of enjoying the flavors and textures of the salad. For some reason it just really harmonized and came out well with the lemon, balsamic, and egg.

Jicama is great! It's actually a lot like some varieties of "Asian pears" in both texture and flavor. A little harder, though, and a little more mild in flavor. In this salad it was nice in that the celery and jicama echoed each other in texture, but had a nice contrast and harmony in flavor. Next time I'd cut it into thinner "matchsticks" for use in the salad. Maybe 1/4-inch-ish rather than the 1/3-inch-ish I had here.

Spinach I find has a stronger flavor than other salad greens and a certain...spinachiness that for me works best with balsamic vinegar's stronger flavor and sweetness, as opposed to rice vinegar, which I like better with the chard/baby kale/spinach mix I had previously been buying.* But with just a little balsamic, the spinachiness of spinach and the sweetness of balsamic are both tamed and balance each other out wonderfully.

*Spinach is cheap by itself! And I have something like this simple salad as part of my complete breakfast every morning, so that's a big plus.

Jicama Celery Salad

a couple handfuls of spinach
jicama, peeled, cut into long 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks
celery, peeled, cut same length as jicama
a good squeeze of lemon juice
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
an egg, soft-boiled, fried, or poached (you want a little yolk still to be runny)

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy.

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