Cucumber Jicama Salad


1 large cucumber

1 jicama

1 small Vidalia onion

(or purple onion)

1 Scallion, green top only

2 Tbs Rice Vinegar

1 tsp Red Chili Paste

1 Tbs Olive Oil

1 tsp Splenda

First of all, here's the quick and easy way to get into this tuber. Forget peeling it. Go for your largest sharpest knife and chop off four "sides" to get it into a boxy shape. Set it up on one of the flat sides and take off the top and bottom the same way so you're left with a nice square shape you can easily slice. 

Stack the slices into manageable piles and cut down through the whole stack for julienned sticks. Finally, chop through the stacks one more time to take the pieces down to inch or so length pieces.  And it's time to match the cucumber to the jicama.

Peel and halve from end to end, then again across the middle. If there are lots of seeds, just scrape them out with a spoon so that what is left is firm flesh only. Stand the pieces on end and slice into thin flats that can be julienned into strips as we did the jicama.

Finally, the onion. Thinly slice and chop strips into smaller sticks to match our other vegetables. Also chopped the green onion (scallion) tops for a garnish  to the finished dish.

For the finished salad: 1 cup each of cucumber and jicama with 1/4 cup onion. You'll probably have more than enough to double this recipe, but to this measure of vegetables pictured, use the following recipe of vinaigrette:

Whisk together 2 Tbs Rice Vinegar, 1 Tbs Olive Oil, 1 tsp each of Splenda and Red Chili Paste, and a pinch of salt. (Most every grocery stocks Rice Vinegar and Red Chili Paste with other Asian foods.)  Rice Vinegar is very different in flavor than plain white vinegar or wine vinegar, having a hint of natural sweetness without adding carbs or calories. 

Give it a taste before you pour: if you like more heat - add a little more chili paste, more sweetness - an extra dash of Splenda, if tangy is what you like - another splash of the vinegar.   And now, the anointing of the salad: toss with only half the dressing for starters and then see how much you really need. I had plenty of extra vegetables and used all the dressing, but see what tastes best to you!

Jan Burke