This dish is a must try if you like Chayote and Asiago Cheese! Chayote au Gratin or Mirliton au Gratin is a delectable and versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer or a side dish. Because of its versatility, this dish can be eaten with bread or with a side salad or any way you want. The taste is almost similar to meat and cheese quiche but without the crust.
Chayote au Gratin is usually made with ham, gruyere cheese or parmesan cheese. My personal favorite is asiago cheese. Because chayote taste is bland, a tart cheese, in my opinion, makes this dish exceptional and therefore Asiago is the winner for me.
“Chayote (pronounced chahy-oh-tee) is a light green, pear-shaped fruit with a single, large pit and edible flesh and skin. The flesh of the chayote is mild in flavor and has a texture somewhere between a potato and cucumber.
Chayotes are native to Mexico but are now cultivated in warm climates worldwide. They are a popular ingredient in Central American cuisine, as well as in the Southern United States. Chayotes are also known as pear squash, mirlitons, cho-cho, chouchoute, or choko. (about.com, 2014)
In Haiti, chayote or mirliton as we call it is mostly eaten in meat stews or legumes and au gratin. When making this dish, I have found that it is best to use fresh spices or dried spices. Seasoning spices mixed with salt does not particularly go well with all the other ingredients added.
Even though the chayote has a bland taste, it needs a simple blend of fresh or dried spices to be enjoyable. Chayote au Gratin is made with ham or low sodium turkey spam, spices and baked in a bechamel sauce with Asiago cheese. For more flavor add my Mango Gourmet Hot Sauce. Just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon should suffice.
So next time you shop at your favorite supermarket, pick up a few chayotes to make this wonderful dish. A word of advice, it is best to wear gloves when peeling a chayote because of the glue-like texture it leaves on your hand and to avoid washing your hands harshly.
Enjoy and don’t forget to leave me a comment!
- 4 chayotes peeled, core remove, and cut in 1/2 to 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup cooked ham or low sodium turkey spam cut in small cubes
- 1 medium white onion chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
- 1 tsp thyme leaves only and chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 Gemma's Mango Gourmet Hot Sauce
- oil for frying
- pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 cup grated cheese - asiago gruyere, or parmesan
- Breadcrumbs for topping
- Additional butter and grated cheese for topping
- Add chayotes cubes to a pot with enough water to cover. Add a little bit of salt and bring to a boil. Cover ajar and let cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and drain, discard water. In a frying pan, add oil and fry the ham or spam cubes until they start turning light brown and then add onion. Stir to mix the following ingredients, parsley, thyme, Mango Gourmet Hot Sauce and pepper to taste. Let mixture cook until onion are halfway cooked. Remove from heat and set aside. To make the béchamel sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan and add flour. Stir to blend. (Best to use a wooden spoon). Once the butter and the flour are well mixed, gradually add milk while stirring. Once the milk is fully mixed with the flour mixture, add grated cheese. Stir and let mixture cook for about 2 - 3 minutes on low heat. Mixture should be thick. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl mix chayotes with meat mixture then fold in béchamel sauce. Add mixture to a prepared buttered dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and more grated cheese. Add a few dots of butter and bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is starting to turn brown. Remove and serve immediately with bread as an appetizer or as a side dish.
- Note: the béchamel sauce must be thick because the chayotes will release more water. Make sure you drain them thoroughly before mixing all ingredients.