Recipe Swap: Chayote squash cooks up quick like zucchini | Dining

Recipe Swap: Chayote squash cooks up quick like zucchini | Dining

Mary Samuels recently wrote to ask about chayote squash and the best ways to prepare it.

Chayote squash is a member of the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. Though firmer than zucchini or summer squash, it generally can be prepared in the same ways as those vegetables.

It is popular in the Caribbean and Mexico, and it shows up in Creole dishes in New Orleans under the name mirliton.

Chayote (pronounced CHY-o-TAY) typically is cooked but can be eaten raw in salads, where it adds a nice wet crunch with a texture (though not flavor) somewhat similar to a green apple. In appearance, it resembles a green pear whole or a green apple chopped. The flavor is mild — some would say bland — not unlike cucumber or zucchini.

The skin can be a bit tough, so some people remove it. But sometimes it is tender enough to be used as is. There also is a seed in the middle, but most people eat that.

A quick sauté with some favorite herbs or spices, onion and another vegetables, such as tomato, can make a nice side vegetable, especially for chicken or fish. It also is sometimes steamed — or steamed until partially cooked, then finished with a couple minutes of sautéing. It also can be tossed with oil, salt, pepper and any favorite herbs or spices and roasted — about 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

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