Pickled chayote salad
Makes 6½ to 7 cups, enough to serve 6
Chayote squash, also called mirliton or vegetable pear, tastes like a combination of zucchini and cucumber. Its slight sweetness and firmness make this a light, bright salad to serve alongside chicken. Choose chayote with smooth, unwrinkled skin.
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3 pounds whole chayote
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican (may substitute 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano)
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
Place the chayote in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chayote can be pierced with a knife yet are still firm (al dente). Drain and cool.
Peel the cooled chayote and cut them in half lengthwise. Discard the seeds (or reserve to toast and snack on, like pumpkin seeds). Cut the flesh crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices or sticks.
Combine the vinegar, salt, black pepper, oregano and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the oils in a slow, steady stream to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Stir in the onion; let stand for at least 10 minutes.
Add the chayote and toss to coat evenly. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes.
Serve lukewarm or at room temperature; or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours, and serve chilled.
This recipe is adapted from "Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking," by Pati Jinich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $30).
Per serving: 180 calories; 2 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams fat (2 saturated); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 250 milligrams sodium; 4 grams fiber; 5 grams sugar.