Move over zucchini. Move over yellow squash. Helloooooooooo, chayote!
[And thank you, A Veggie Venture, for without this year-long venture of cooking a vegetable in a new way every day, I'd never in the world have noticed, let alone cooked, these delicious slices.]
It's a summer squash, native to Latin America. It's pronounced chee OH tay and also goes by the names mirliton (Creole?) and christophene (French) and chokos (Australian, you know, that whole other language).
Here's the skinny (and skinny is indeed the operative word for a serving has only 25 calories, 5 carb grams and still manages to pack in 3 whole grams of fiber):
No peeling required.
There's a soft seed inside -- a snack for the cook!
Good raw, perfect for crudites.
Delicate tasting, like a zucchini with punch and no sponginess.
Cheap, about $1.25 a pound.
And it seems to cook without losing structure so there's no mushiness like happens with overcooked zucchini or summer squash. I can definitely imagine using one or two to add volume and volume to a soup or stew.
OH: did I say, I liked these? I really liked these! Most of the recipes online suggest/complain that chayotes are bland and thus need "aggressive seasoning". With just salt, I found them delicious, just as is, simple, spare and entirely refreshing.
Time to table: 15 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium chayote squash, about 1 pound, quartered, seed sliced out, and sliced (or better yet, diced, I think)
1 cup milk (the inspiring recipe called for cream, I only had vanilla soy milk on hand and it worked great, it's only a cooking liquid and gets discarded so chicken broth would be good, too)
Fresh chives (the garden chives were sheared to the nubbins over the weekend so tonight I used the last of the garden's basil, next time I'd stop with just the salt)
Heat a large (especially if slicing, these are a little bulk and don't cook down) skillet on MEDIUM HIGH and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chayote and stir to lightly coat with the oil. Cook through, stirring occasionally. Add the milk (or other liquid) and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the chives or basil if using, let cook another minute. Remove chayote from milk. Enjoy!
~ more chayote recipes ~
~ recipes for all the new-to-me vegetables ~