Gratin de Christophine

Martinican Baked Stuffed Chayote

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

  • About

The global French mission civilisatrice has left its refined mark on Sechiumedule in this recipe, which is Old World in every way except for its main ingredient. But gentle as the chayote is in essence, its yielding tropical nature pervades the dish.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 3 large chayotes
  • 4 slices stale white bread, without crusts
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ pound bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, finely chopped
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • ¼ cup oil, approximately
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried bread crumbs

Method

  1. Bring 8 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Cut the chayotes in half and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes in the water until quite tender.
  2. Drain the chayotes. Remove and discard the peel and the almond-shaped seeds.
  3. Puree the chayote flesh in a processor. Reserve.
  4. Chop the stale bread into crumbs. In a bowl, soak the crumbs in the milk. Reserve.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  6. Heat the bacon in a skillet. When it has rendered its fat but before it browns, add the onion and scallions. Now brown the bacon along with the onion and scallions.
  7. Stir the chayote puree into the bacon mixture, as well as the parsley. Strip the leaves off the thyme and stir them in with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat, stirring until the texture of the puree is smooth. Add up to ¼ cup oil if necessary.
  8. Meanwhile, butter a 6-cup gratin pan. When the puree is ready, spread it in the pan. Sprinkle with the Gruyère and bread crumbs. Cut the rest of the butter into small pieces and scatter on top.
  9. Set the pan in the middle of the oven for around 10 minutes, until the “gratin” is nicely browned. Serve immediately.

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