One of the terrific things about working out of South Florida is the cultural influences from around the world; paella from Spain, Cuban style picadillo, empanadas from Venezuela and the list goes on. This month, I offer a cool refreshing salad made from jicama (pronounced hee-kuh-maw). Jicama grows throughout Latin America as well as having been introduced in Asia and is a member of the legume family. The vines, roots and bean pods are poisonous, but the tuber, the shape of a turnip with the color of a rutabaga, being edible. Often julienned and eaten raw with a squeeze of lime and a dusting of chili powder, jicama has been described as having a slight taste of green apple or pear. Jicama can also be grated into a slaw. Jicama is loaded with Vitamin C and is a good source of dietary fiber.
1 pound jicama
1 medium lime
2 medium oranges
½ pound of watermelon sliced into ½ inch straws
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium jalapeño, stemmed and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the jicama and cut into sticks about 2 inches long and ¼-inch thick; place in a large bowl.
Finely grate the zest of the lime and add to the bowl of jicama. Cut the lime in half and squeeze one lime half over the jicama; set the second half aside. Finely zest one of the oranges (you should have about 1 tablespoon) and add to the bowl of jicama. Slice 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of the zested orange and set it flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, follow the curve of the orange and slice off any remaining peel and white pith.
Working over the bowl of jicama, slice between the membranes to release the segments or what’s called supremes. Discard the membrane and peels. Repeat with segmenting the second orange (you do not need to zest this orange). Add the watermelon, bell pepper and cilantro and stir to combine. Important: Add the jalapeño to taste last and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lime juice as needed. Serve chilled with a cold cerveza. Enjoy, J.W
Capt. John Wampler has worked on yachts for more than 25 years. Contact him through www.yachtaide.com