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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mexican Market Fruit Salad

I’ve always loved foods that feature combinations of the basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami. For instance, a sprinkling of salt is a great enhancement to the sweetness of cantaloupe. Years ago I was introduced to jicama by my now ex-father-in-law. He had discovered jicama and served it to the family with lime juice and chile powder, which to my understanding is a common Mexican snack. I think it’s a great flavor combination.

If you shop at the larger of our fabulous local Mexican supermarkets in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, you’ll find taqueria counters; islands serving aguas frescas (fresh waters), the wonderfully refreshing Mexican fresh fruit drinks; sometimes crema bars featuring cremas (similar to sour cream) from all regions of Latin America; and refrigerated cases featuring an assortment of fresh fruits and/or vegetables in single-serving sizes with chile powder and lime halves to squeeze over them.

The combination of fruits, cucumber, chile, and lime that you can find in the Mexican market is one of my favorite snacks. Those snacks were the inspiration for this tasty salad. I hope you enjoy this lively combination of flavors as much as I do:


1 small to medium cantaloupe, cut into balls with a melon baller*
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced
2 medium to large cucumbers, peeled, cut in half long ways, seeds scooped out, and sliced
1 large or 2 medium jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Zest and juice of 2 limes
Chipotle chile powder to taste (careful, it’s yummy but spicy)
A couple teaspoons pomegranate vinegar to taste (can substitute apple cider vinegar)
A couple teaspoons agave nectar to taste (can substitute honey)
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients, refrigerate, and allow flavors to mix for a couple of hours before serving

* Honeydew melon would probably be really good in this salad as well. I don’t include it because I don’t really care for it, but if you like it feel free to add some.

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