After fifteen years at the log house, which was surrounded by goat farms but miles from a grocery store, it's nice to be back in the city. Within blocks of our house, we have an Asian supermarket, a Middle Eastern market, a fromagerie, a fish market, and a Whole Foods. A few blocks farther afield, Tropical Foods Market offers all the goodness of the Caribbean, with plenty of specialty ingredients for the African and Latino populations that live in the community as well. Among the items that were hard to find in Rhode Island, chayote squash is one of my favorites, and I now have multiple sources, including my regular grocery store. Chayote, a light green squash that looks like someone punched in the bottom end, always needs to be cooked before eating; it's more firm than zucchini, closer to a patty pan squash, and you can swap zucchini or patty pan squash in most recipes that call for chayote. Here I've paired the mild-flavored squash with creamy avocado and tangy strawberry, in an unusual fresh salsa that tastes great with fish or grilled chicken. You can cook the chayote ahead and refrigerate it, but don't put the salsa together until an hour or so before you're ready to serve; the salt will draw liquid out of the fruit and vegetables, and make it a bit watery if it sits around.
Chayote squash, avocado and strawberry salsa
From the pantry, you'll need: lime, kosher salt.
Makes approximately 2 cups; can be multiplied.
1 medium or large chayote squash
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup strawberries, diced
1 scallion, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
Cut the chayote in half lengthwise, and with a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and core. Do not peel the squash. Dice into 1/4-inch cubes.
Place the diced chayote in a small saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender but not mushy. Drain, and add to a large mixing bowl. (You can make ahead to this point, and refrigerate.)
Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Chill the salsa for a couple of hours before serving.
More interesting things to make with chayote squash:
Albornia de chayote (scrambled eggs with squash), from The Perfect Pantry
Egg and cheese casserole with chayote squash and green chiles, from The Perfect Pantry
Roasted garlic scape and tomato chayote noodles with crab, from Inspiralized
Radicchio, chayote, Asian pear, basil and pecan slaw, from I Breathe. I'm Hungry.
Stuffed chayote with carne molida (Caribbean squash with ground beef), from My Halal Kitchen
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