This crunchy, spicy, tangy, and refreshing salad is an old friend. It was born in spring over a decade ago -- the greenmarket was still asleep and I was looking for a way to bring back bright colors and light flavors onto our table. A little bit of white, a little bit of orange, and a spectrum of greens, sprinkled with droplets of fiery red; the licorice touch of fennel, the crispy coolness of jicama, the sweet and sour mingling of the green mango, with refreshing hints of lime, basil and mint -- it was a fun and colorful way to make a new start. These days, I make it often in the summer. It pairs nicely with so many dishes and cuisines, from grilled meats and seafood to curries and burritos. I love it with baked salmon, poached shrimp, and chicken breast. My daughter eats it with prosciutto. And it's lovely on its own, topped with an avocado. —QueenSashy
What You'll Need
green (unripe) mango
jicama (about 10 ounces)
fennel bulb (about 10 ounces)
extra virgin olive oil
unseasoned rice vinegar (or up to taste)
lime juice (or up to taste)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups
red jalapeno cut into 1/8-inch dice (or more depending on your heat preference, if you like it even spicier use Thai chiles)
pickled red onions, see recipe below (or up to taste)
fennel fronds and lime wedges (to serve)
for the pickled onions:
red wine vinegar
medium red onion, peeled and sliced very thinly
A couple of hours before preparing the salad make the pickled onions (you can also do it a day or two ahead -- they keep well in the fridge for up to a week). In a small saucepan combine the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook at low simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the liquid cool. Place the onions ribs in a mason jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the salad, using a vegetable peeler, cut the mango and jicama into thing strips. Slice the fennel into super-thin ribs.
Prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. (Taste and adjust acidity, salt and sugar according to your liking.) Whisk until well blended and creamy. Add the basil, mint, and lime zest.
To plate, place the watercress on a large plate. Top with mango, jicama, and fennel. Pour the vinaigrette all over. Finish with pickled onions and jalapeno. Garnish with lime wedges and fennel fronds, and serve right away, accompanied with the remaining pickled onions.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.