That is roasted sou-sou. Never heard of a sou-sou before? Well, you are not alone. Neither had I.
I walked into my kitchen one day last week to find this thing sitting on my windowsill:
I stopped and looked at it for a moment, and then wondered to myself how (and why) on earth this cactus-looking thing had found its way to my windowsill, especially since I live alone. When I tried to pick it up, the thorns attacked me, and so I left it alone on my windowsill, nursing my sore finger. For the next few weeks, I eyed it warily every time I came into the kitchen, the mystery of its appearance hovering over me as I cooked.
Weeks later, my landlady asked me how I had enjoyed the sou-sou. Sou-sou? Dumbfounded, I stared back at her and mumbled something about "...cactus....window?" She laughed at me and explained that it was a sou-sou, or chayote (they go by several different names) and that they are growing on a tree in our backyard. My landlady had placed one in my window for me, assuming I would know what to do with it. Reaching into her own fridge, she pulled one out, peeled it, and cut me a slice to eat raw. It tasted like what I imagine a cross between a potato and an apple would taste like: crisp, fresh, and a bit starchy She told me to try roasting one sometime; that it was delicious roasted. So that's what I did this weekend at a dinner party I was co-hosting. We cut the sou-sou into thin slices and stuck them in the oven, where they got nice and crispy on the outside and remained tender on the inside. They made the perfect appetizer!
2 whole sou-sous, peeled, cut in half, with the pip removed
1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Any other seasonings you might want to add - although it's wonderful even just with oil, salt, and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
After the sou-sou has been peeled and the pip removed, cut it into very thin slices. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the 1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil. Toss to coat all pieces, and then spread onto a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for about 20 - 30 minutes, being sure to shift the pieces around to ensure even browning and crisping. Remove to a serving plate and serve as an appetizer or a side dish.
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