Ensalada Xec: Mayan Citrus and Jicama Salad

We’ve been making an extra effort to eat healthy in our house, especially since we moved across the country and have access to more local produce than ever before (hello, California citrus!). This crunchy, spicy, juicy citrus salad from the Yucatan area of Mexico is the perfect healthy snack. Ensalada xec (xec is Mayan for “mixed,” and is sometimes spelled as “xeec,” “xek” or “xe’ek” and is pronounced “shek”) is a staple dish in the region and is sometimes also made as a salsa without the jicama.

This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Ensalada xec: Spicy Mayan citrus salad made with orange, mandarin orange, grapefruit, jicama, lime juice, chile habanero, cilantro and sea salt. #Recipe on theothersideofthetortilla.com.

I served my ensalada xec for a salad-themed Food Bloggers LA meetup once, and it was a big hit. I love this recipe because it keeps crunchy in the refrigerator for a few days in the event that you have leftovers. I find this dish keeps best when refrigerated in a covered glass bowl. Some recipes for ensalada xec call for ground cayenne pepper, which is perfectly fine, but I prefer to use fresh chile. Habanero is frequently used in the regional cuisine in the Yucatan, so I used it in this recipe. If your tastebuds can’t handle the heat from a habanero pepper, you can substitute a finely chopped serrano chile or just use a dried chile powder of your choice. You could also use  Tajín (the popular Mexican chile, lime and salt seasoning) sprinkled on top if you don’t want to use fresh chiles; if you use Tajín, remember to leave the salt out of the recipe…. 

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CLASSIC MEXICAN COCKTAIL: La Paloma

It’s been a very hot summer here in Chicago, with July actually being the hottest on record according to local weather reports. Due to the heat, I haven’t been in the kitchen very much because I’ve been trying to keep our place as cool as possible. Most of what I’ve been whipping up has been cold treats and drinks, and I know I haven’t posted a recipe in awhile so I thought I’d share my version of a refreshing, classic Mexican cocktail known as La Paloma.

Some people call it a margarita, some don’t; I think it depends where you’re from. I’ve also heard it called a paloma tequila,”  Traditionally, it has tequila in it, but if you’re not a drinker, you can leave the tequila out for a homemade grapefruit soda—or I suppose you could call it a toronjada.”

The drink is often made with grapefruit-flavored soda such as Jarritos de toronja or Peñafiel toronja or even Squirt or Fresca, but I also like to make the classic recipe with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and agua mineral (sparkling water) for a little fizz. 

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Wordless Wednesday: Toronjas

It’s been extremely hot here in Chicago this week with high temperatures in the 90s and 100s, so I’m using these toronjas to make a refreshing agua fresca and palomas, a cocktail made with grapefruit juice and tequila.

  • What do you like to do with grapefruit?
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