11 August 2010

Clementine-Jicama Salad

I hosted a little dinner party the other day in celebration of best pals Deana and Erin alternately jetting and driving into town with their significant others in tow. The ladies, each, are infinitely more visually creative than I could ever hope to be, so the (self imposed) pressure was somewhat on and I was convinced that no green salad starter, however tasty, would suffice for the occasion. 

I came up with a mild Brazilian theme, centered around an easy Eric Ripert seafood stew (more on this in a later post), however the meal quickly turned 'Latin' themed as I tried in vein to find a pescetarian-friendly starter that didn't actually involve fish (ie. no fish, followed by fish), and would be more interesting than a green salad. I found this winner of a recipe at Epicurious, and so upon Erin's arrival on Sunday, set her to work peeling and match-sticking a giant jicama. The girl is very detail oriented, as evidenced by her lovely photos as my first "guest photographer". 
Clementine-Jicama Salad
Adapted from Epicurious.com
Serves 6

*The original recipe called for purple onions, which in their raw state I thought would dominate too much. The recipe also called for toasted pepitas instead of peanuts, which I actually forgot I had and in a panic added the peanuts for some last minute crunch. 

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 clementines, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks (3 cups)
3/4 cup packed cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or mild feta
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then whisk together with lime juice, oil, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Just before serving, toss jicama with dressing and divide among 6 salad plates, top with one clementine per plate, cilantro, cheese, and peanuts. Season with salt and pepper. 

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