Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 203

Chayote Squash: Today's new food actually involved some real cooking, which I haven't done in awhile for the blog. I tend to gravitate towards prepared foods, since they travel well and can usually be stockpiled for a few days worth of blogging. Also, prepared foods don't require me to buy several other ingredients just to cook them. However, sometimes I see something that I can't pass up, and when I noticed these bright green chayote squash during my last trip to Your Dekalb Farmer's Market, I knew I wanted to try them. I had no idea how they were supposed to be cooked, but they looked interesting. How were they different from yellow squash? I usually like any type of squash, so I figured it couldn't hurt to take one home.
After finding an easy recipe online (just sauteeing in a pan with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, sugar and red wine vinegar), I decided to try them tonight as a side with dinner. The squash was extremely firm to the touch, not at all like the yellow squash I usually eat. It reminded me more of a green apple than a vegetable, and after slicing it open, the apple comparisons didn't end. It seriously looked just like a green apple on the inside (minus the little seeds), and if you had told me that's what it was, I wouldn't have questioned it.
I sauteed the squash for about 10 minutes with all the ingredients, then plated it. Even after cooking, it still looked like apple, but I knew the taste would be quite different. Unlike yellow squash, the chayote was still quite crisp, even after sauteeing for 10 minutes. It didn't have a lot of flavor on its own (much like all other squash I've tried), but the added ingredients gave it some tartness and heat. If I had to compare it to something, it would probably be the jicama I tried a few weeks ago. I actually liked it a lot, and I could see buying it again as a vegetable side for almost any dinner. Next time, maybe I'll try simply roasting it with some olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

So what is chayote? According to Wikipedia (my source for, well, almost everything these days), it's a "plant that belongs to the gourd family cucurbitaceae, along with melons, cucumbers and squash." Chayote is a Spanish word, but the plant is popular in cuisine all over the world under various names.


  1. You could always try to make a batch of mirliton gumbo.

  2. I love chayote with a little minced garlic and olive oil. It's a great side with fish.

  3. Thanks for the recs - might try those soon.