We’ve been in our house for a little over a year now. I’ve walked the streets of our new neighborhood dozens--maybe even hundreds--of times since we moved in. So I thought I had a pretty decent handle on the highlights of this little corner of Seattle.
Earlier this week, however, I learned that I had been overlooking one of the hidden culinary treasures of the city: the Discoteca los 3 Reyes.
This is not, as the name might suggest, a Latin nightclub, but rather a little grocery store jam-packed with every sort of Mexican ingredient your heart could desire. They stock the more familiar offerings: hot sauce and canned beans and spice packets for taco meat. But also corn husks for tamales, hibiscus flowers, dozens of chiles and fat kernels of Mexican corn ready to be ground into masa harina. They have piloncillo and Mexican cinnamon and dried avocado leaves. In short, they carry everything I need to get my Oaxaca food fix on.
Naturally, I filled my shopping bag with tons of ingredients I don’t entirely know how to use (what do you do with yerba santa anyway?) and over the next couple weeks I’ll be testing recipes for my upcoming Oaxaca-inspired dinner--and just for fun. I’ll be posting my successes here.
Today's experiment was a Pineapple and Jicama Salad with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette and I'm calling it a success. This dish was inspired by a salad we had as part of our photography workshop in Oaxaca. As well as by all the chile-dusted tropical fruit sold in the streets of the city. It treads a thin line between savory and sweet and has some crunchy toasted peanuts and fresh herbs thrown in to round things out.
Beau and I devoured a plate of this for lunch alongside some jalapeño eggs. Then we started dreaming up other ways to eat it in the coming weeks: as a salsa on top of a nicely charred steak, as a bed for roasted halibut, with yogurt and toasted coconut. Beau even thinks you could get away with adding a scoop of sorbet or ice cream. (Of course, he thinks you can improve a lot of things with a scoop of ice cream, so I’ll have to let you know about that one.)
However you decide to serve this salad, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be back soon with more dispatches from the Discoteca los 3 Reyes and more Oaxaca-inspired kitchen experiments.
Pineapple and Jicama Salad with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette
- 2 oranges, (I used cara caras)
- 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, halved lenghtwise and thinly sliced
- 1 cup peeled and julienned jicama
- 3 dried arbol chiles (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 cup neutral-tasting oil (I used avocado oil)
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 6 radishes, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped mint, plus a few leaves for garnish
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
*Notes: This salad is fairly spicy. If you don't like spice, either cut back on the arbol chile or use a milder chile.
- I think this salad would also be delicious topped with crumbled queso fresco.
Using a sharp knife, slice the peel and pith from the oranges. Carefully slice them into 1/4-inch rounds and then cut each round into sixths (you'll have six little triangles for each slice). Arrange the sliced pineapple, oranges and jicama on a serving platter.
De-stem the chiles and place them in a spice grinder. Process into fine flakes. Place the chiles in a medium bowl along with the lime juice, honey, oil, peanuts and chopped herbs. Stir to combine then add salt to taste (you want it to be a bit on the salty side).
Pour the vinaigrette over the pineapple, oranges and jicama. Scatter the radishes and reserved herb leaves over the salad and serve.
Makes 6-8 side dish servings.