Roasting yams – oca, jicama, youlk or whatever you can find – on salt draws water out and intensifies the texture and flavour, so what you’re left with is the chew of chicken, with the lightness of fish. If you’re not in the mood to taco ‘bout it, turn this dish into a salad by omitting the tortillas and mozzarella and tossing everything together in a bowl instead.
SERVES 4– 6
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) jicama or yam of choice
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) rock salt
1 bunch of coriander (cilantro), stems and leaves finely chopped
4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
3 long green chillies, seeded and
finely chopped 2 garlic cloves,
finely chopped juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges to serve
18 small tortillas
200 g (7 oz) vegan or mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
shaved red cabbage, to serve
watercress sprigs, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the salt in a roasting tin, in a thick layer. Add the yams, pressing them into the salt. Bake for 1 hour, or until fork-tender.
Meanwhile, combine the coriander, spring onion, chilli, garlic and lemon and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
When the yams are cooked, remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and chop into small bite-sized pieces.
When ready to serve, place the tortillas on three baking trays and arrange the cheese slices on top. Sprinkle with the paprika and bake for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is just melting. Smear the cheese with the back of a spoon.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat.
Add the ground coriander and cook briefly, until aromatic. Add the yams and toss to warm through. Stir the fresh coriander and chilli mixture through, then use to top the tortillas.
Scatter with cabbage and watercress and serve immediately, with lime wedges.
Tip: Yams are a fantastic source of the prebiotic fibre inulin, feeding the good bacteria in your gut. (If you’re thinking ‘that sounds familiar’, you’ve probably been reading the Jerusalem artichoke entry …) Inulin is great for our guts in the long term, but can wreak gaseous havoc in the short term – especially if the yams are particularly fresh. If you’re the sort of person whose bowels move with ease, it might be worth delaying the gratification on this dish and soaking your chosen yam overnight.
Recipe from In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky
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