Chayote (see nutritional sheet)
French West Indians call it christophene and bake it with cheese and chiles. Jamaicans call it chocho and add it to apple pies. Puerto Ricans call it chayote (pronounced “chy-OH-tay”) and scramble it with eggs and ham. Cajuns call it mirliton (pronounced “mellaton”) and stuff it like eggplant. Elsewhere in the United States it’s called chayote, though many Americans have actually never heard of it.
Brazilians like to serve chayotes in salads. Peel the chayote and cut it into finger-sized strips. Cook these strips in boiling salted water for six to eight minutes or until tender. Refresh under cold water and drain. Toss the chayote strips with olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, chopped chiles or peppers and fresh herbs.
When using chayote for stuffing and baking, leave the skin intact. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and steam or boil until sufficiently tender to scrape out the flesh with a spoon. Don’t discard the single white seed, which has a pleasantly nutty almond taste.
To prepare a chayote for grilling, cut it into broad slices an eighth of an inch thick on a mandoline or meat slicer. Brush the slices with olive oil and grill for one to two minutes per side or until tender.
Note: To prepare chayotes, remove the waxy skin with a vegetable peeler under running water. Halve the chayote lengthwise, scoop out the soft pit with a spoon, and cut into chunks. Wash your hands to remove the sticky film. The sap can make your skin peel (as seen below), but it’s harmless.
Try it on our farm-fresh pizza for First Monday of the Month “Farmily” Potlucks.
- 2 cubes chicken bouillon, crumbled
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 2 chayote squash cut and peeled in 1/2″ cubes
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 4 medium red or sweet potatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 avocado
- Wash the lentils thoroughly, but do not soak, and cook in the water at medium heat.
- Wash but don’t peel the potatoes and cut into halves or quarters depending on the size, to achieve medium sized cubes.
- Peel the chayote and cut into medium cubes.
- Dissolve the bouillon in the hot water.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion, garlic, and red pepper in the butter until the onion is soft. Add the squash, potatoes, and lentils along with 2 tablespoons cilantro, salt, and pepper and stir continually for 5 minutes. Stir in the bouillon mixture and 1 tablespoon cilantro; cover. Simmer about 20 minutes or until chaste, lentils and potatoes are tender.
- Pour into bowls and garnish with a sprig of cilantro and avocado cubes placed over the top.