; Supermarket Serenade: What the Jicama (hee-kah-ma) is it?

Monday, May 19, 2008

What the Jicama (hee-kah-ma) is it?

When I was a kid there was a TV show on Metromedia channel 5 in the New York metropolitan area called Wonderama. Hosted by the always jovial Bob McCallister, Wonderama was part kids talk show, part kids game show and totally the "not to be missed show" on Sunday mornings before church. Just about every kid I knew dreamed of being in the studio audience. One of my favorite segments on the show was "What the heck is it?" where Bob would hold up some unusual object and the kids in the audience would have to guess what it was. I'm not sure whether the jicama ever made it on to Wonderama, but I'm certain that the average kid or even the average adult probably wouldn't know what it was if held up for a guess.

The jicama is a tasty legume that to me is almost like a cross between an apple and a cucumber. They're grown in Mexico and South America and known by a few different names: the Mexican yam bean, Chinese turnip or Mexican potato. Jicama makes a delicious addition to salads and slaws or try slicing them thin and using them in place of crackers for hordouvres. When selecting jicama in the supermarket look for a smooth, unblemished skin and make sure it is firm to the touch.

This recipe uses jicama as a crunchy addition to chicken tostadas. You may either dice or julienne the jicama. An easy tip for preparation is to cut the jicama in half before peeling and then cut as desired.

Crunchy Grilled Chicken Tostadas with Creamy Guacamole Drizzle

4 Boneless chicken breast halves, thin sliced
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Red pepper flavored extra virgin olive oil
4 Corn tortillas
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
1 cup diced or julienne jicama, peeled
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 Jalapeno pepper, minced, seeds and membranes removed

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.

Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with the olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the preheated grill and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until opaque and cooked through. Remove chicken to a cutting board.

Place the corn tortillas directly on the grill rack and divide 1/2 the cheese evenly between each; close the grill and cook just until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

To assemble, place the corn tortillas cheese side up on serving plates. Layer each tortilla with the lettuce, jicama, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. Carve the chicken into thin slices and fan over the tostadas and top with the remaining cheese. Drizzle each with the Creamy Guacamole Drizzle, recipe follows.

Creamy Guacamole Drizzle
1 Ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Drizzling tip: transfer creamy guacamole to a plastic bag, snip off a tiny corner and squeeze to drizzle over tostadas.


Prudy said...

Yum! I've got an award for you on my blog. I loved your title today!

Jenny said...

Oh my Veronica,
These tacos look insanely good!!??

Did you see our episode of 04 BBB on Food Network over the weekend? I missed it, but heard it was on. That was a fun year, well other than we didn't win the 50k!

Anne said...

Jicama is crunchy like nothing else--I love it!!

Lisa said...

Jicama is one thing I have never tried. But now that I know about it, I will get some. Your salad looks delicious! I did get some of your favorite pantry items. Found some crystalized ginger and I bought the cinnamon puffins cereal. I use it for an afternoon snack and my husband loves the cereal too.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Whoa! Great tacos! I luuuvvv jicama, and use it in a Southwestern Thanksgiving stuffing!
A nice crunch amongst all that bread!
Beautiful pics...hey, did you use that blog designer that is advertised on your blog? I'm thinking of needing some help!

Veronica said...

Oh, Prudy! You're so sweet! Thank you.

Jenny-yes, friends told me about the show being on. Just another opportunity for people to make fun of me for forgetting the cheese!!

Anne, gotta love jicama...I really do love it sliced and dipped in the guacamole drizzle for a snack!

Lisa, glad you guys like the Puffins cereal...our favorite is the cinnamon kind-it really is great to snack on and not too high in sugar.

Catherine-thanks! Yes, I did use Leelou, she's great-I got her from Jenny. You already have a cute header though!