The Mixta Majicama Summer Salad
The way I see it, salads have for much too long been too-much lettuce-centric, leaving those of us who live in hot places with cultures of growing mostly cookable greens wanting. No doubt, Aurovillians have figured out lots of ways to grow good salad greens here, and while I admire always their ingenuity, there are plenty other, locally familiar ways to think of fresh salads in the absence of greens–or, indeed, elaborate dressings. Here is one to make with a freely mixed combination of common ingredients, at a moment’s notice. We call it the Mixta Majicama because that’s what it is: a mix-mix salad that’s plain magic, and because we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the addition of jicama–when we’ve been lucky enough to have some around (see below).
I got the idea for this salad from a very beloved aunt who replaced the lettuce with shredded cabbage in her version. But even that, I find, isn’t critical. Our first versions showcased the yellow pear tomatoes emerging abundantly from the garden [which we used as abundantly also in this rustic galette]:
Thing is, absent the robust presence of the larger tomato varieties and with its own perfectly sweet-subtle flavor, the yellow pear never claimed center-stage. So really this salad is an invitation to work with colors and textures rather than any singular taste: crunchy white jicama, red bell peppers, white-green cabbage, the juicy bites of red pomegranate arils, plump orange bits, firm red onions, soft creamy green-yellow avocado, crisp red-white or pink-white apples, green mint, green coriander, the chewiness of dried cranberries or raisins, the slight bite of chilli and ginger.
Play with each, and see what combinations appeal with what daily meal?
Here, we did the salad with fewer yellow pear tomatoes and more shredded cabbage. Knowing that hypo-thyroid-ers are better off slightly cooking their cabbage, I often lightly sauté mine in a bit of olive oil:
Here, with ripening avocadoes and orange bits, it accompanied a fajita meal:
Just returned from Manila, I brought jicama back with me, so we used lots of that–call it a nostalgia for our Tex-Mex past:
But the best of this salad resides in no particular ingredient but in the bursting experiential mix of it all:
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 1 large sweet crisp red apple (such as fuji, washington, or honeycrisp), cored and diced
- 1/2 cup Cherry or yellow pear tomatoes, halved (or other tomato equivalent)
- 1 small bunch coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
- 1 small green or red chilli, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
- juice of a large lemon or 1 and 1/2 limes
- salt, to taste
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage (optional: lightly stir-fried in extra virgin olive oil--in which case you could leave our the olive oil from the "Essential Ingredient" list above; alow to cool before mixing with other ingedients)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
- handful of mint leaves, torn roughly
- 1/2 cup mung bean sprouts (to make your own: soak whole green mung beans overnight, drain the water, and leave covered in a corner until they begin to sprout -- usually by the end of the day)
- 1/2 a small jicama root, julienned
- 1 orange, peeled, seeded and cut into bits
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks
- 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of dried cranberries or raisins
- Toss all ingredients into a large bowl in any order you please.
- Mix well, and adjust for salt.
- NOTE: If you're using ripe avocado, mix all other ingredients first, then add the avocado and mix gently just to combine.
- Chill for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.