Sunday, May 28, 2006

Don't forget the jicama

In the most recent issue of Fine Cooking (#79-July '06), I was pulled in by an article on chopped salads. This suprised me because I'm not really a salad person. I get cravings for salads, but they usually include romaine lettuce, croutons, carrots and chicken. The photos were what really drew me in...and the more I looked, the more I knew I had to try to make on of the salads.

I give you:
Chopped Mexican Salad
with Roasted Peppers, Corn, Tomatoes & Avacado
Serves 8

Chopped Salad sans dressing

For the Peppers & Corn
2 large orange bell peppers
2 ears fresh corn
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper

For the Honey-Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette
1 small clove garlic
Salt & Pepper
3 TB fresh lime juice
3 TB fresh orange juice
2 tsp finely chopped shallot
1 TB honey; more to taste
¾ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

To Assemble
2 large firm-ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice (1 ¾ cup)
1 small jicama, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice (2 cups)
2 large firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into ¼ inch dice (about 2 ½ cups)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Roast the peppers and corn
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425. Line a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stem, seed core and ribs. Put the pepper halves on the baking sheet cut side down. Hust the corn and put the ears on the baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the peppers and corn and rub it around to coat the pepper skins and corn kernels evenly. Sprinkle the corn with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the peppers are soft and slightly shriveled and browned and the corn kernels are slightly browned in a few spots, about 20 minutes (rotate the corn occasionally as it roasts.)

When the vegetables are done, let them rest until cool enough to handle. Scrape away the pepper skin and cut the flesh into ½ inch dice. Cut the corn kernels from the cob. You should have about 1 ½ cups kernels.

Make the vinaigrette
Mince and mash the garlic to a paste with ¼ tsp kosher salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the garlic paste with the lime & orange juice, shallot, honey and toasted ground cumin. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking until well blended. Season to taste with black pepper and more salt and honey, if you like.

Assemble the salad
Artfully arrange the corn, tomatoes, peppers, jicama and avocado in stripes or piles on a small platter or other wide, shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve the vinaigrette in a pitcher. Encourage guests to spoon elements of the salad onto their plates and drizzle on some of the vinaigrette. Or drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad platter just before serving.

This is the salad with the dressing. It looks like it's drowning in dressing...but what happened is this: I prepped everything at home, packed it up and then we went to picnic. In that time, the veg let got of a lot of it's moisture. So when I spooned the veg onto the plate, I tried to drain as much liquid as I could. It appeared to work-see above photo. Well, as it sat, more and more liquid accumulated. If you make this, I'd recommend allowing the tomatoes and peppers to drain before plating...just to be safe.

FYI: This was a great salad. We highly recommend it. Particularly the jicama!!! Wow was it good. The original recipe did call for one can of black beans....not for me, thanks! So if you want to add more to the platter, that's a great option for you.


Dancer in DC said...

This was SO good. The jicama and corn were especially nice. The cumin in the dressing is surprisingly mild - gives a hint of smokiness, but comes off more as savory.

A feast for the eyes and the tongue.

Lady Brandenburg said...

I just ate some leftovers of this salad yesterday - YUM. I am blown away by this salad. SOOO great. Highly recommend. Thank you ScottE!! (and maybe I will try with black beans... lots of iron!)

Lady Brandenburg said...

PS - the photos look great - the lighting for pictures that day was great - natural, filtered by the clouds - if only we always had lighting like that all of our photos would be beautiful!

Stef said...

This is so tasty and pretty! They say the healthiest stuff for you is usually what's most colorful on the plate. And I tend to eat mostly beige or brown food. Hmmm....