Sunday, 22 February 2015

Summer Salads- Winter Nights!

Insalata di Chayote, Ciliegini & Peperone con Coriandolo & Lime
Chayote, Pepper & Cherry Tomato Salad with Cilantro & Lime


The funny thing about this salad is- that I made it using chayote, from the same vegetable that I turned into a hearty soup last time. Which was probably what I should have done this evening as well, what with it being as cold as it is here in Frankfurt!

And still... I remember thinking how wonderful and tasty, crispy and juicy the chayote was raw that first time I ever used it- and couldn't resist giving it a try as a salad this evening- and I am so glad that I did! Because it was really wonderful!


I remember finding the flavor of the chayote, which is a practically unknown (and un-eaten!) ingredient for us here in Europe, as similar to that of kohlrabi. It even has the same basic color- and if you were to peel and dice them both and put them into unlabelled dishes for people to try- I bet many of them wouldn't be able to tell the difference!

What I like about the chayote though is that it belongs to the squash family and is therefore easier to digest than kohlrabi. And being just as inexpensive and pretty readily available at Asian supermarkets here- it makes for a great alternative!


So, for a nice big bowl of salad, easily enough for 3 servings, I needed just 1 chayote, 1 yellow pepper- this was a pointed one, but a regular bell pepper (any color!!!) will do just fine. Then came a nice little bunch of cherry tomatoes (9-10 of them), 1 lime, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, a teaspoon of chili flakes (optional), a little salt and pepper and some good olive oil... simple stuff!


As always with my dishes, it is the combination of flavors and textures together that makes it so good. The crunch of the thinly sliced chayote, with the hint of lime chili, makes this work so wonderfully.

This would make a great side dish to any grilled meat or poultry , come Summer- so let's keep this in mind! Alternatively, this evening, it made a perfect supper in itself, with my last couple of tortillas toasted up. Light and tasty and good!


If you are not yet familiar with chayote- the first thing to do is to cut it in half and remove the "stone"... which is actually very soft and easy to scoop out with a teaspoon- or simply make 2 cuts in a "v". Then peel it and you are ready to go!


I cut the chayote into very fine slices, sprinkled it with salt, drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled it with chili flakes. I then left it to sit and let the flavors mingle nicely whilst I halved the cherry tomatoes and cut the yellow pepper into little bite-sized strips.


Next come the pepper slices and cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, the juice of the lime, plenty of oregano, a good drizzle of olive oil and lots of fresh cilantro... by now the chayote will have developed a great flavor and everything will be ready to be tossed together and served and enjoyed!


This was more based on the Mexican chayote dishes that I looked at online and made a nice change for me to the tomato and basil styled salads that we have in Italy- I just love cilantro! And with that tangy lime and hot chili- it was a real tasty treat!


Somehow I feel that this will be made over and over again in the warmer months... and I am really looking forward to it! Come on Spring and Summer- hurry up home- we miss you!

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