Bright Jicama Citrus Salad

This time of year starts to feel awfully grey. The ground matches the sky, wardrobes turn dark, and color becomes pretty hard to come by. Maybe that’s the reason why I’ve been craving salads despite the fact that it’s 20° out. Ironically, some of the most vibrant citrus is in season during this dismal time of year, and I find myself wanting that brightness so badly that I eat gobs of Sumo oranges hoping for some of their native sunshine to make its way into my veins. This salad combines tart and sweet citrus with both fresh and quick-pickled jicama for a jolt of freshness that feels like insta-May weather. Topped with the richness from the avocado and oil, plus the heat from the chiles, it hits on all the corners of your tongue, making it a satisfying reprieve from the snow shovel.

1 large grapefruit, supremed, juice reserved*

2 blood oranges, supremed, juice reserved

2 oranges, variety of your choosing, supremed, juice reserved

1 c rice vinegar

¼ c honey

1 ¾ tsp sea salt, divided

28 oz jicama, cubed small (King Soopers or Kroger have these pre-cut into sticks)

1 avocado, cubed

2 limes

1 Tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp chili powder

Your favorite hot sauce (Frank’s, Cholula, or Valentina will work great)

⅓ c chopped mint, for garnish

*If supreming citrus scares the bejesus out of you, I understand. Not everyone finds holding a knife so close to their palm as relaxing as I do. If that’s the case, purchase a variety of citrus segments in their own juices. These can be found in jars that are refrigerated in the produce section. Make sure no extra sugar has been added.

Supreme the citrus over a bowl and squeeze each membrane after the segments have been removed to extract any remaining juice. Store the segments in a separate bowl and reserve the juice.

In a small saucepan, combine ¼ c of the citrus juice you reserved from your supremed fruits, honey, rice vinegar, and 1 ½ tsp salt. Heat until boiling, then place to the side.

Cube half of the jicama and place in a heat-proof jar. Pour the pickling liquid you just boiled over top and allow to cool to room temperature. Allow to stand at least 1 hour before using. This can also be made ahead and left in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

When ready to serve, cube the other half of jicama. In a mixing bowl, combine the citrus, 1 ⅓ c fresh cubed jicama, ½ c pickled jicama, and avocado. Squeeze the juice of 2 limes over top and sprinkle ¼ tsp of chili powder along with about ¼ tsp of coarse sea salt. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Toss well. Garnish 6-8 splashes of hot sauce,  another sprinkle of salt, and mint.

Note: I am a lady that likes pickles, so this dish brings it when it comes to acidity. If it's too much for you, add a few more cubes of fresh jicama to balance it to your taste. Green apple is also a great substitute if you find that jicama is hard to come by.