As a child growing up in Mexico, I was introduced to healthy snacks early on. It was common to munch on fruits or vegetables as an after-school treat. As I got a bit older, I started sprinkling lime juice, salt and powdered chile on everything. By the time I was a young adult, these types of flavours influenced my choices of foods in life. Just the thought of a plate of cucumbers or mangos sprinkled with lime juice, salt and chile makes my mouth water, and memories of my childhood come flooding back. They say food has a memory, and I agree completely.
I love to travel Mexico, and I’ve been lucky to be able to do so. Everywhere you go, whether it’s a small village or a huge metropolitan city, it is common to see fruit vendors on the streets, especially around the markets and plazas. They will offer their fruit peeled and cut, sprinkled with powdered chile and lime. It can be thick, round jícama slices on a stick (resembling huge lollipops), whole or sliced (fairly green and tangy) mangos, cucumbers, oranges, mandarines, watermelon, etc.
This recipe is born from the inspiration of those street vendors, mixing some of those flavors together. It is always a hit because it’s so refreshing, and is great to serve when the weather is warm outside, but also in the cold winter months, to bring some sunshine indoors.
I make this recipe with pineapple, mangos, cucumber, jícama and oranges, but you could easily add watermelon, kiwis, apples or even carrots, it just depends on the flavor profile you want. The key to this is to cut everything the same size - about ¼” dice. If you let the salad sit for a couple of hours, the flavours will develop nicely. Just make sure you serve it cold, and offer your guests a beer or tequila for a perfect match!
Ensalada de Frutas y Verduras con Chile
Fruit and Veggie Salad with Chile
¼ pineapple, cored and cut into ¼” dice (about 2 cups)
¼ medium jícama, peeled and cut into ¼” dice (about 2 cups)
½ an English cucumber, cut into ¼” dice (about 1 cup)
2 mangos, cored, peeled and cut into ¼” dice (about 1 cup)
4 oranges, peeled with a knife, cut into slices, and then cut into ¼” dice (about 2 cups)
Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
½ tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 tsp ancho chile powder, to taste (or you can use Tajín powder)
Place all fruits and veggies in a bowl, then season with lime juice, salt and ancho chile powder or Tajín. You can refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
Makes about 8 cups.
This recipe was first published at www.thelatinkitchen.com