A tasty cool-weather dish using two often-neglected vegetables, jícama and fennel salad gets a lovely citrus lilt from fresh oranges and lime dressing.
In mid-to-late summer and fall, jícamas are fairly easy to come by. My local supermarket, which isn’t located in a sophisticated urban center, carries them at this time of year. I highly recommend getting acquainted with this offbeat veggie.
Fennel, too, with its distinctive anise flavor, often gets short shrift. Paired with jícama, it adds up to a simple salad that’s easy enough for every day and festive enough for fall holiday menus.
Substitutes: Deceptively plain on the outside, jícama yields a burst of crisp, slightly sweet texture and flavor. That being said, if it’s unavailable, substitute 2 to 3 medium turnips or medium daikon radish (peeled in both cases), and you’ve still got a lovely fall salad.
As for fennel, there’s no other vegetable I’m aware of that has that distinctive anise (licorice) undertone, but in a pinch, you can use celery or bok choy, sliced on the diagonal.
- 1 medium jícama, peeled and cut into narrow 1 1/2-inch-long strips
- 3 to 4 clementines or other small seedless oranges, sectioned
- 1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced (save stalks for another use; see note)
- Feathery leaves from the fennel
- 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, or a combination
- 4 ounces baby greens (any variety, see Note for options)
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Combine the first 7 ingredients in a serving container and toss together.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together.
- Let stand for a few minutes if time allows, then scatter the seeds over the top and serve.
Use any kind of baby greens you prefer — spring mix, spinach, arugula, baby kale, or mixed baby power greens.
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