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Chayote, the vegetable pear

Fine Cooking Issue 94
Photo: Scott Phillips
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The unusual-looking vegetable known as chayote (chah-YO-tay) adds a lovely, lightly crunchy texture to Sue Torres’ Grilled Vegetable Tacos. Also known as a mirliton or vegetable pear, it’s part of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, squashes, and melons. Chayotes have a mild cucumber-like flavor and can be prepared in any way you might use summer squash, raw or cooked. The large center seed is edible, though you might prefer to remove it.

Chayotes may have smooth or spiky skin, but the smooth ones are what you’re likely to find in the United States. You can buy them in Latin markets and in some supermarkets (they’re often stocked near the bell peppers and chiles). Choose ones that are firm and unblemished. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

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