Cha cha chayote


dear santa


I know they’re not tropical, but I wanted to share these letters, because sometimes your dog gets run over by your school bus, and sometimes you just want books to read, and maybe having books will help you learn to spell better, too, oof. #childhood

And with that, here’s today’s recipe!

Actually, this is more a guideline. And an invitation to experiment, if you will.

Chayote au gratin
Adapted from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook

For four servings:

  • 2 chayote squash
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Cheese, whatever kind you’d like, shredded or crumbled
  • Breadcrumbs or stale bread pulsed in a food processor
  • Salt, pepper, other spices to taste
  • Hot sauce or salsa to serve

1. Place the chayote in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 20 – 30 minutes, until squash can be pierced with a knife but still has a little give (in other words, it won’t be all the way cooked yet).

2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and beginning to color.

3. Once the chayote are done boiling, remove from the water and slice in half lengthwise. Allow them to cool enough so that you can handle them without burning your fingers. Using a spoon, scoop out as much flesh as you can, leaving the skin and a thin shell intact. Remove and discard the very inner core (you’ll see that it looks different from the rest of the flesh) and roughly chop the rest of the flesh.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked onions, chopped chayote flesh, and some cheese (use as much as you’d like!). Season to taste with salt, pepper, and other spices that you’d like to use. (You could try curry, red pepper, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, whatever. The world is your chayote.) Place the chayote shells in a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking dish and fill with the onion/chayote/cheese mixture. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs.

5. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, until the tops are golden and bubbling, and the chayote is easily pierced with a fork. If you think the tops are browning too much, cover loosely with foil until the chayote are done. These are great with hot sauce, and also reheat well.



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