Since You Asked: By any name, chayote makes fine salad
While on a trip to Brazil, I frequently was served a vegetable called "chuchu" that tasted like cucumber. I asked about this at a local Latin market, but I'm either not pronouncing it right, or it isn't available in this area. Do you know where I can find it and possibly a recipe?
— Sue W., via email
Chuchu is simply chayote squash, known as "mirliton" in some parts of the United States, as "choko" in Australia and New Zealand, "chow-chow" in India, "sayote" in the Philippines, "guisquil" in Guatemala and myriad other names around the world.
The pale-green vegetable about the size and shape of a small mango belongs to the same family as cucumbers and melons. It is stocked at local Latin markets under the name "chayote." We've also seen it at Food 4 Less in Medford.
Prepared more like a slaw in this recipe, chayote soaks up the dressing yet stays crunchy. Cucumbers may be substituted.
3 chayote squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small onion, cut in half, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon minced cilantro or Italian parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Place the squash in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper, garlic, cilantro, olive oil and lemon juice. Toss well and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Makes 4 servings.