Saturday’s Mystery Ingredient: Chayote

IMG_2272My fingers have been itching to touch the keys of my computer all day!  Here it is, after 7 pm, and at last, I’m finally, able to scratch that itch.

Corinne and I just returned home from a trip to Connecticut to visit her father, who recently had to move into a nursing home.   Usually, this type of trip never constitutes a good time; however, it was better than we anticipated.   We found her Dad in good spirits even if he wasn’t a fan of the home’s cuisine.

We left Virginia Thursday afternoon.

Knowing of our trip I realized I would be unable to prepare a weekly mystery dish.

I’ve always been encouraged to plan ahead and for once in my life (okay…maybe twice) I put this good advice into practice and threw down some mystery hash in my kitchen Wednesday before our trip.  I was careful to record it with camera phone in hand,  so I could post the results, good or bad,  in Redhead Reflections.

The mystery ingredient I chose  is  a rather odd looking fruit/veggie called a chayote.

The chayote, a member of the squash/melon family, is the size of a pear with a green outer skin.  Anything that can be done with a cucumber, melon or squash can be done with the chayote.  It is quite the versatile little fruit as it can be steamed, boiled, fried, baked or eaten raw.

I peeled my chaIMG_2281yote, sliced the crisp flesh and popped it in my mouth.  It tasted like a cross between a pear and a cucumber.

It was delicious!  I had intended to cook the little critter but I enjoyed the taste so much I didn’t want to wait.

Instead I grabbed an apple, a red bell pepper, a lemon and proceeded to construct a fresh Chayote-Apple salad.

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First I prepared the Chayote by cutting it in half and removing the seed found in the center.

Then IMG_2291I sliced it and the apple. I squeezed the juice of one lemon over the fruit and then tossed it to coat well.  The lemon will provide a  necessary acidic component and at the same time keep the fruit from turning brown.

Next I thinly sliced a red bell pepper and added it to the mix.  IMG_2293

For the dressing  I mixed olive oil, honey, celery seed, thyme, salt and the juice of one lime.   This is poured over the choyate, apple and bell pepper and tossed.

The finished product looked rather nice and tasted even better!

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I will definitely revisit this yummy fruit again. Hopefully I will be able to resist the temptation to eat it right away and will be able to try it cooked in some way.  I’m looking forward to it!

You really owe it to yourself to go out  and pick up this funny looking fruit.  Not only is it low in calories but it is packed with vitamin C.

My bet is that you will love it as much I did.

I’ve included the recipe below and also a recipe for cooking the little critter.

Apple Chayote Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 chayotes, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 2 sweet apples, unpeeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper any color
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; toss gently.
  2. Cover and chill at least 2 hours, tossing occasionally.  (The recipe also called for 1/4 cup of roasted and salted cashews…I was fresh out of nuts)

Chayote Squash Side Dish

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Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 clove Garlic minced

1 Chayote Squash cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/2 tsp.  salt

Ground black pepper to taste

1/2 tsp white sugar

1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add garlic, squash, salt, pepper, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Stir together and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add vinegar to the squash mixture and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, until the squash is slightly wilted, but still firm and crunchy. Taste, and add more salt or sugar if needed.  (This recipe compliments of Allrecipes.com)  

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Next weeks mystery ingredient:  Tomatillo

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10 thoughts on “Saturday’s Mystery Ingredient: Chayote

  1. I’m always amazed when it sounds so simple. You are such a creative culinary artist and I admire your talent. I honestly wish I found pleasure in the kitchen but no matter how many times I’ve tried to convince myself that once and for all I was going to settle in and make the kitchen my home, I end up throwing the fresh ingredients away. Maybe if I read your recipes long enough and follow your instructions with photo assistance, one day I’ll actually come up with something I like.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sheri! I was afraid my recipes had been too simple but as a cook I want to celebrate the flavor of the ingredient, especially when I’ve never tried said ingredient. Do you ever what Chopped on Food Network? I love it…they have mystery ingredients the chefs have to use and an allotted time span to finish. This show was my inspiration to create a weekly Saturday mystery dish.

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my Saturday’s mystery dish…it warms my heart to know. 🙂

      1. I’ve never enjoyed cooking and because of my career, I never really had to be concerned about preparing a meal. I knew how to put a meal together but it wasn’t something I enjoyed. On the other hand, Tom loved to cook so when we married he took over the kitchen and it was wonderful. I’ve missed his delightful meals since he’s been so physically ill. Neither one of us have an appetite and I really have to coax him to eat – therefore I’m delighted when I find a blog such as yours where I find recipes that not only look and sound delicious but I know I can put together without much fuss or mess.
        Having the flavor honored in a dish enhances it to a degree where those of us with withered tasted buds find real joy.
        I’ve been putting off going to the market but will be checking your blog for ideas before I go:)

      2. Awww…I can’t tell you how good your words make me feel! Thank you for making my Sunday! ❤ Hope I can find some more good recipes…I'm gonna try to keep them somewhat healthy. 🙂

        I sure hope Tom will feel better.

  2. Chayote is a regular at my mom’s home its a staple in Caribbean cooking. We stew it with eggplant, string beans, garlic , tomato paste over rice. (meat optional)

    1. Wow…that sounds really good! We just had it again yesterday. I cut it up with cucumbers and tomatoes…added red wine vinegar, water, salt and a dash of sugar. Corinne is so picky but loves my cukes in vinegar. She never knew I had snuck in the Chayote. I didn’t tell her until she had finished a whole bowl full. TeeeeeeeHeeeeeeeeHeeeeeee 🙂

      1. Gosh…I had it again this week. Chopped it up with cucumbers, tomatoes with red wine vinegar, water, salt and a dash of sugar. OMG….so good! 🙂

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