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Friday, October 10, 2014

Roasted Chayote and Sweet Potato with Green Chile

Chayote is one of those strangely interesting vegetables.  It's like a cross between an apple, cucumber, and a zucchini.  It's pear shaped with the odds and ends neatly tucked in, like an old lady without her dentures.
It's a pretty green with a somewhat thick skin, which becomes slightly slippery when removed.  Chayote is a sensual and playful vegetable.  It likes to be taken many different ways, and likes to slip out of your hands while you undress it...only to come back wanting more.
Yes, these are the thoughts going through my mind as I prepare dinner.
Doesn't everybody communicate with their vegetables?
By the way, that is an Opinel vegetable peeler.  It is top quality and cut through the chayote and sweet potato skin like butter.  I'll be progressively switching to the Savoy-made cutlery from now on...
Serves 2 as a side
2 medium chayotes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced in half crosswise, then lengthwise into 1/4 inch pieces
2 green whole chiles (I used Moroccan)
3 garlic cloves, grated and split into halves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp piment d'espelette
1/2 tsp thyme
some fleur de sel
some cracked black pepper
hefty drizzle olive oil
some crumbled feta (optional if vegan)
1.  Make a dry mix of the paprika, thyme, piment d'espelette, salt, and pepper, and divide in half.
2.  Prepare 2 oven trays.  One with the chayotes, the other with the sweet potato.
3.  Toss the chayotes with the dry mix, half the garlic, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.  Do the same with the sweet potato.
4.  Place into a 420°F 215°C oven along with the whole green chiles.
For the chiles:
Cook the chiles for about 10 minutes on each side.  Remove from oven and place in a plastic bag for 5 minutes to "sweat."  Remove from the bag and scrap the skin off.  Make a slit to remove the seeds, and sprinkle some feta.  Place back in the oven for 5 minutes (just so it heats through and the cheese melts.. because, yes, feta does melt)
For the chayotes and sweet potatoes:
Cook the pieces spaced apart on a baking tray for 30 minutes, then turn the trays around, lower the heat to 400°F 200°C for another 15-20 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with a touch of feta.
I served mine with some roasted chicken legs, which makes this a lot less vegetarian.. but this is about the sides, remember?
If chayote is new to you, let it introduce itself in its roasted form.. it's the most seductive form in my opinion..
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