Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Green dinners: Round 2

I’m really quite enamored with my new mandoline. (Which, btw, my auto-spellcheck wants to spell as “mandolin” so if I manage to miss a “mandolin” just know I have NOT taken up a musical instrument in addition to slicing vegetables).

I mean really enamored.

I’ve been reading about them a lot in the cooking magazines I wander through on a regular basis. And of course they’re a fixture on a lot of cooking shows as well. Mine’s plastic and nothing fancy.

I got it for 12 bucks at a local grocery store. Just wanted to test drive a mandoline before I got all hot and bothered about procuring a fancy-schmancy one.

Yeah, I know a food processor can perform many of the same tasks but there’s something utterly magical about a mandoline’s precision cuts. And it's easier to clean.

And it's just what needed for our most recent Green Dinner – Thai-style Jicama Salad. It’s pretty much summer salad perfection – with a bit of ‘tude. Fresh, crunchy, briny, spicy, citrusy. Read the recipe and go forth to do good things.

The recipe came to our table via the May 2010 issue of Sunset Magazine. What better on a warm summer evening than a salad of julienned jicama, carrot and celery tossed with chilled shrimp; seasoned with serrano chiles, mint and cilantro; and then dressed in fresh lime juice, a touch of sugar and a dash of fish sauce?

Recipe caveats:
1. If you value your esophagus, you'll ease into this salad using just one chile to begin with (or less if you're a wimp).

2. Asian fish sauce is an acquired taste, and I for one found 2 tablespoons a shade on the ambitious side. This is definitely "Season to taste," going after a salty, briny touch. If you don't want your salad tasting like cat food (not that I've ever sampled, just going on the smell), please heed my advice. Seriously. I mean it.

Without the mandoline, my life would’ve been julienne hell. And, truth be told, there were a FEW bordering-on-hellish moments as I re-acquainted myself with the actual operation of the mandoline. A slight coating of jicama fragments on anything close to my work station bore visible testament to that.

BUT. That which does not kill you makes you strong.

The mandoline and I became one. All fingers and knuckles emerged unscathed and I had a bowl of beautifully julienned jicama.

Which, when co-mingled with aforesaid ingredients, resulted in a kick-ass summer dinner salad that garnered the much-coveted Wonderfully Patient Spouse "Let's Have This Again" Award.

Try it. Enjoy it. Preferably to the dulcet aires of mandolin music.

1 comment:

  1. The salad sounds wonderful -- but I'm with you on the fish sauce. Thanks! marla