I like to stuff foods… I love to fill delicious things with other delicious ingredients and make them all even better. I love to stuff crepes, mushrooms, manicotti, sweet bell peppers, tortillas, potatoes and now, I give you chayotes.
Chayotes are a fruit, but are mostly eaten very similar to the potato preparations. What I like about them is they have very watery flesh after it’s been cooked, so it tends to be refreshing and light. They’re perfect to eat during the hot summer days… or any other day if you happen to live in a Caribbean island like me. They’re sometimes prickly, so be careful if the ones you get have the needles… just grab them using kitchen gloves or a kitchen towel. After they’re cooked the needles kind of loose they’re potency.
I treat these stuffed chayotes the same way you would treat a twice-baked potato, only that we will only bake this once… the first phase of the preparation is boiling. Check them out…
1 chayote, washed very well and cut in half 1 tbs olive oil ½ onion or shallot, finely chopped ½ bell pepper, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 piquillo peppers, chopped 1 tbs capers 4-5 grape tomatoes, chopped 1 tbs goat cheese 2 tbs parmesan cheese 1 tbs almonds, lightly toasted Salt and Freshly Cracked black pepper
- In a medium sized pot filled with salted water, place the chayote halfs and boil until the flesh is fork-tender just like a potato. This should take about 20 minutes. When you check for doneness, do not prick on the side of the skin, only thru the side of the flesh. When they’re done, take them out of the water using a slotted spoon or a “spider” and allow them to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium high heat add the oil, onion/shallot, garlic and bell pepper and sauté until they’ve softened. Add the piquillo peppers, capers and grape tomatoes and mix together and cook lightly so they release some of their juices until they become one with the onions/peppers mix. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Carefully take the chayote halves and scoop out as much flesh as you can using a spoon. I guess a grapefruit spoon would work great, but I do not have one. Try not to disturb the shell/skin. Set the shells aside while we work with the flesh.
- In a bowl mix together the flesh we just took out, the mix in the skillet, goat cheese and almonds. Mix together by mashing everything with a fork or a potato masher.
- Pre-heat toaster oven to 350° F.
- Refill the chayote skin shells with the mixture and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden brown.
I made these a few weeks ago when I invited a dear friend to dinner… I asked him to come over after he invited me to go out but I was already preparing dinner. So I did not tailor the meal to his taste at all. He actually had chayote for the first time that night and I must say he thoroughly enjoyed them. I wish I had done more so he would have seconds… Jesús, I promise that’ll make more the next time.