Watermelon, jicama and mint salad


I had a jicama sitting in the lazy Susan cupboard amid a short stack of sweet potatoes. Though it tried valiantly to fit in, it was lonely. It knew it had been carelessly forgotten, then purposefully ignored.  It's texture was growing tougher by the day. It needed to be eaten. It's not the most memorable among the plant world, not even just in comparison with other tubers. It's strength is more of a general compatibility, an amenable "helper" ingredient like celery, maybe. Despite its slight tendency to be a bit of a wallflower, the jicama, sometimes known as a Mexican yam, does deliver some nice nutrition benefits; solid fiber and vitamin C, for instance, plus very low-calorie crunch. I bought it thinking how tasty the  lightly sweet crispness would be in a salad that week, but when I put it away, I promptly forgot about it.

Lately all meals have been more or less spontaneous. I make my weekly lists, but in this last finicky stretch of pre-babydom I rarely want what I planned for one week to the next. So, sticking to the budget, I'll rearrange ingredients in whatever way is most appealing and the least effort for the moment. It's strange to admit, but there's something surprisingly satisfying about using this method, and having it work out.

Oddly enough in the case of the jicama, which could so easily have topped any number of salads, I just couldn't be bothered the effort of peeling and cutting. Except for the prospect of pairing with watermelon, which as a given is always worth a few extra knife strokes. This summer especially, watermelon has been so sweetly, thirst-quenchingly mouth-watering. True, it doesn't need any enhancement. In fact, last week I made a watermelon gazpacho with cucumber and red pepper, and while the result was just fine, I still shoulder just a little regret for sacrificing the perfect, unadulterated watermelon cubes.

I guess as a rule I'll pick pure, perfect watermelon on its own before risking defiling in in some other recipe. That is, if I find myself  in a bizarre situation where I have to choose the one way I'm bound to consume watermelon for the rest of my life, if it can only be one. Assuming I'll continue living in a world where there are other options for awhile, though, mixing watermelon with a little jicama, some lime juice and honey, and torn mint is a nice occasional twist. Fresh, simple, lovely.

Watermelon and jicama salad 

  • Juice from 1 lime, plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 1 jicama, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
  • Roughly 4 cups watermelon cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup  torn fresh mint leaves

Whisk together lime juice, zest, honey and pepper. Toss with remaining ingredients in a bowl. Chill until serving.