French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted Chayote with Garlic

 

Jerusalem Artichokes Redmond Farmers Market

Last year E and I spent a week frolicking in the Pacific US Northwest/Canadian Southwest after IFBC wrapped up.  On our last day and a half before returning to Puerto Rico, we hung out around Redmond, a Seattle suburb famous for its proximity to the Woodinville wine tasting rooms, the Microsoft campus, and The Herbfarm.  After spending about an hour in the Redmond farmers’ market that Saturday, I decided the next time I visited that area I would rent an apartment with a good kitchen.  We were wowed by the wonderful produce we saw at the market, stand after stand.  I took an especially good look at the Jerusalem artichokes, aka sunchokes, knowing that I’d likely wouldn’t be seeing them again in the (near) future.

I had to make an educated guess for an alternative vegetable to substitute for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic.  Chayote is a vegetable native to Mexico that grows all over the Caribbean and parts of Asia.  It is also known in the American South as mirliton. Here’s how I rationalized my choice to make roasted chayote with garlic:

Roasted Chayote with Garlic

Images embedded in infograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

(It was fun finding out that the sunchokes have some redeeming qualities like the ability to turn into booze.  I hope none of the Doristas and their willing tasters suffered from the more documented properties of this root vegetable.)

The chayotes found in Puerto Rico are not as green as the ones in the picture.  These are traditionally cooked into stews or stuffed with picadillo, not unlike the sweet potatoes I made recently.  To prepare the chayotes for roasting, I sliced them lengthwise, peeled the skin off and sliced them into wedges.  After a generous dousing of eye-balled olive oil and salt, I roasted them for half an hour.  After that first half hour, I tossed in the thyme and garlic.  The reference I consulted suggested roasting the chayote spears for about an hour, and I didn’t want the delicate garlic slices to burn completely.  The chayote wedges were properly roasted by the 45-50 minute mark and most of the garlic was golden and crisp.

roasted chayotes with garlic

Roasted Chayote with Garlic

Roasted Chayote with Garlic
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A Caribbean vegetable roasted with garlic and woodsy herbs.
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan and nola.com
Servings
4
Servings
4
Roasted Chayote with Garlic
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
A Caribbean vegetable roasted with garlic and woodsy herbs.
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan and nola.com
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Slice the chayotes lengthwise and discard the seeds. Peel and slice lengthwise into 1-inch wedges. Toss with oil salt. Roast for about thirty minutes and remove from the oven.
  2. Lower the heat to 400˚F. Toss the garlic chips and herbs with the chayote wedges and return to the oven to continue roasting until mirlitons are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Like most vegetables, the chayote spears acquired a sweet, slightly smoky flavor from roasting.  The delicate squash flesh, paired with the crisp and good-bitter garlic chips and thyme made a satisfying bite.  I’d make these again in a heartbeat, sprinkling Cajun seasoning instead of plain salt and pepper.  It would be a tasty nod to New Orleans, where mirlitons are extremely popular.  If you have ten minutes to spare, I encourage you to  read this account from nola.com on how the “Mirliton Man” rescued the Louisiana chayote post Hurricane Katrina by encouraging people to plant them in their backyards to generate seeds.  It’s an oldie but goodie, and includes a few recipes.

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where we, the fearless Doristas, cook our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  For more tales of sunchokes, potatoes, parsnips, jicamas and yes, chayote roasted with garlic, click here.

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

14 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted Chayote with Garlic”

  1. October 17, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    I think this looks like a fine substitution! Sunchokes are not related to artichokes (they are from the sunflower family) so no taste to worry about matching. I have eaten chayote before and think it would be great prepared like this. Your slices look like giant fries!

  2. October 17, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    They make brandy from it here? I obviously haven’t been paying close enough attention, but I googled it after reading your post and sure enough, they make Brandy with it in the state of Baden. Next time I’m down that way I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

    As for the chayote, thanks for the education. It looks vaguely familiar so I’m sure that I’ve seen it before and simply not known what it was. Next time I’ll snap it up and bring it home to roast:-)

  3. October 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Oh we do have chayote over in my location but it seldom appears in my kitchen… I might just grab one the next time I see it. Thanks!

  4. October 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Adriana…great post! I enjoyed reading the differences between the chayote, and the sunchoke. I have actually seen the chayote in markets by me, although I didn’t know what it was or how to use it. However, no sunchokes! I ordered mine online.

    Your roasted chayote looks wonderful, and I’m sure it was tasty. Didn’t you just love the roasted garlic?

  5. October 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Aaahhh – your chayotes are our chokos, I think. No chokos around here at present either, but I’ll have to remember this and try it (I have never cooked with chokos either.)

  6. October 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    I think my stomach would like the chayotes much more than the sunchokes. I love how they browned gorgeous.

  7. October 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Glad you found a good substitute! Love the idea of spicing these up with Cajun seasonings 🙂

  8. October 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    I love your infographic! Sounds like you made a good substitution. I’d never had a Jerusalem artichoke, but I’ve never had a chayote either. So many interesting vegetables out there. And Cajun seasonings are always good on pretty much everything.

  9. October 18, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    I have seen the chayote in the market too, but as Kathy said, had no clue what is was.
    Thanks to Dorie, we are learning all about these ugly veggies and it is so interesting.
    Adriana, I want to say thank you for your anniversary wishes, that was so nice of you.

  10. October 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    That infographic sounds exactly how i would rationalize something 🙂
    Great substituting!

  11. October 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I love your infographic! There aren’t any sunchokes here right now, but I saw tonnes of chayote in the markets yesterday. I may have to try this soon!

  12. TheKitchenLioness
    October 19, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    Adriana, I love to learn…I looked up the chayotes, very interesting – I do not think that I ever saw them in markets around here or maybe I did not look closely – your dish looks wonderful, a very pretty and elegant presentation – there is indeed a sunchoke brandy, a specialty from a well known region in Germany called “Baden”, but I have never tasted it before.
    Nice post, dear friend!
    Ahve a wonderful Sunday!

  13. October 25, 2014 at 5:52 am #

    This is what I love about this group! I’m learning so much!!!
    I’ve never heard of a chayote.
    (Love the comparison table!)
    Great photos 🙂

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