Wednesday, April 03, 2013

One man’s weed is another man’s treat.

Last week I gave you part of an article from A New Kind Of Page for the New Kind Of Woman, from the New York Times in January 1913. The topic of the time was the Japanese udo, which, for all I know may be as ubiquitous as the choko is in Australia. In a post a long time ago I discussed “the bloody choko”, and its role in the cuisine of this country. Let me keep this simple. The choko, which I understand is a much valued vegetable in the South of the U.S.A, is not considered a delicacy here. My Australian readers will be amused that the choko was another of the “strange and foreign fruit and vegetables” covered in the article mentioned above. Perhaps it helps if you call it a chayote.

Cooking the Chayote.
As a preliminary preparation, always peel and cut the chayote in two, take the seeds out, and cook in boiling salted water for an hour and a quarter. For baking, cut the vegetable thus prepared into slices, mix with a cream sauce; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and sprinkle the top with grated cheese, fresh breadcrumbs, and butter. Bake for ten minutes in a hot oven.
Stuffed chayotes are found on the tables of many New Orleans families. The housewife seeking something new and delicate should try them. Stuff the halves of the prepared chayote with some duxelle. Sprinkle with fresh breadcrumbs and some butter, seasoning to taste; then bake in the oven for fifteen minutes and serve with tomato sauce. Duxelle is prepared by chopping fine one onion and two shallots; add some finely chopped mushrooms, and let the whole stew in butter until the moisture out of the mushrooms has been thrown out; season with salt, pepper, and a little chopped parsley.
The chayote makes a delightful salad, with a most unusual taste. After being well cooked it should be allowed to cool, then split into four pieces. These in turn should be sliced to a thickness of about a quarter of an inch. Place in a serving dish with lettuce and cover with mayonnaise or French dressing.


Anonymous said...

Chayote is fairly bland--it has a nice texture, but tends to be fairly watery.

Catofstripes said...

Thanks for this, I've bought a fruit with the intention of growing it in France this year. The added value of using it as dunny cover can only be an advantage!

The Old Foodie said...

I think chayote is very bland indeed. I guess the virtues of easy-to-grow and adaptable in cooking are virtues though.
Catofstripes - let us know how the vine grows in France (hope it covers your dunny well :) )