Chayote Salad with Tomato and Roasted Garlic Dressing
- prep time 15 min
- total time 45 min
- serves 4
For the most contemporary look, present the salad nestled into leaves of romaine, butter lettuce or watercress.
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (I like 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed
3 medium (about 1 1/2 pounds total) chayote
¾ cup vegetable oil, olive oil or a mixture of the two
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 large (10-ounce) tomato, cored and cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed, cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
1. Roast the unpeeled garlic and whole chile in a small dry skillet over medium heat, turning frequently until soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes for the garlic, 10 minutes for the chile. Set aside to cool.
2. While the garlic and chile are cooking, peel the chayote if you wish (the skin is so tender that peeling is entirely optional). Cut in half lengthwise and pry out the pit. Cut the chayote into pieces a little smaller than ½ inch. Scoop into a microwaveable bowl and sprinkle with a generous ½ teaspoon salt. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, poke a couple of holes in the top and microwave on high (100%) until crisp-tender, usually about 5 minutes. Uncover and cool.
3. While the chayote is cooking, slip the skins off the garlic. In a blender jar, combine the garlic, chile, oil, vinegar and 1 scant teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into a jar and secure the lid.
4. Tip off any liquid that has collected at the bottom of the cooled chayote. Add the tomato and green onion. Shake the dressing well, then drizzle on about 1/3 cup. (Cover the remaining dressing and refrigerate for another salad.) Toss to coat well. The flavors are best if you let the mixture stand a few minutes, tossing regularly. Taste and season with extra salt it appropriate. Divide between small plates and serve.