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Author Notes: I just threw this together this past week as a part of a Mexican inspired taco spread. We needed a vegetable that my supremely picky brother would eat, so I needed something that wouldn't be too intimidating and maybe included something he already liked! I created this in the produce department of the grocery store, mixed it up in the kitchen while the carnitas puttered away, and served it with a tinge of hesitance. The recipe makes a lot, so the bowl wasn't empty by the end of the dinner and the leftovers spread. I sort of thought that was the end of it until my sister's fiance asked for the recipe (neither he, nor she, were at the dinner). Word had spread! So I thought I'd continue the spread. A lot of this is done by feel, taste, and relies on the produce you have on hand, so be prepared to play around with the recipe.
This is designed to be used as a fun topping for carnitas tacos, but it can totally be eaten as a side dish as well.
(If you wanted to use an Asian Pear instead of a Granny Smith Apple, you probably could. That was my original intention, but the grocery store didn't have any.) —PeteF
Granny Smith apple, cored
scallion (with bottom and top removed)
cup apple cider vinegar (plus more to taste)
teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
- In a blender, or tiny food processor, process the scallion, vinegar, and salt together until homogenous. You want to make sure there aren't any large pieces of scallion. Put the dressing in a large bowl.
- Peel and julienne the half jicama as thin as is within reasonable expectations. If you have a mandolin, this is a great time to use it. Go as small as you can while still maintaining the integrity of the jicama - you don't want this falling apart. Every now and then, as you're slicing through this, drop what you've got into the bowl and toss to coat in dressing. The jicama won't oxidize, but it will dry out.
- Julienne the apple. Don't peel it, the green is a nice touch, and since it's being julienned the skin won't be in big pieces to chew through. Again, every now and then drop what you've cut up into the bowl and toss with the jicama and dressing. This will stop the apple from turning brown. If you find it gets too dry, add some more vinegar.
- This is a great time to taste the slaw for salt content. All the flavors haven't matured yet, but the salt level will remain the same at the end, so check that now. If it needs more salt, add it. Make sure that the mixture isn't too dry - you want everything to be coated, and still have some liquid down at the bottom of the bowl. Add more vinegar until that's the case.
- Cover the bowl and put it in your fridge for as long as you want. You could serve it immediately, or wait 24 hours. As time goes on, the jicama is going to pick up the subtle flavor of the scallions, and the vinegar is going to tenderize everything, and the salt is going to extract the juices that will then be reabsorbed. The whole thing is going to meld as time goes by. But it will remain fresh tasting, and super bright.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Portable Side