México is an inspiring place for anyone who loves to cook. A walk through the local market or even a supermarket will reveal an astounding variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The vibrant colours of red, green, yellow and orange dominate. Some amazing fruits and vegetables are hidden under rather unexciting exteriors.
Jícama is one such root vegetable. It has a tan coloured exterior that looks similar to turnip and a creamy white interior that has a crisp texture and fresh taste that is similar to apple. It is usually eaten raw in salads and salsas or on its own topped with salt, lime juice and powdered chile.
One interesting way to use jícama is in a seafood ceviche. The seafood “cooks” in citrus juice and the flavour is enhanced by a mixture of onion, chile peppers, tomato, jícama and herbs. There are many different combinations of vegetables and seafood possible for ceviche. This is the version that was served at Posada Tamarindo on Valentine’s Day.
Ceviche de camarones
Makes 6 appetizer portions
125 mL (½ cup) freshly squeezed lime juice
500 g (1 lb) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ medium white onion, finely diced
80 mL (1/3 cup) fresh cilantro, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, diced
½ jalapeño, finely diced, to taste
15 mL (1 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
250 mL (1 cup) jícama, peeled and finely diced*
Salt, to taste
1 small ripe avocado
Place all ingredients except avocado in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Peel, pit and cube the avocado and mix into the ceviche just before serving. Spoon the ceviche into small interesting glasses or bowls.
Garnish with lime slices, finely diced or sliced jalapeño, cilantro and serve with tostadas or tortilla chips.
* Cucumber can be substituted if jícama is not available