SHRIMP WITH CHAYOTE
The Brazilian Kitchen
by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz
Camarao corn Chuchu
Chayote is a mild-flavored, light green vegetable that has been shining for a long time as one of the most basic vegetables in Brazilian home cooking. In Portuguese, it's called chuchu, and it grows abundantly just about anywhere it is planted. These days it is becoming easier to find in American supermarkets. This classic dish is delicate and serene, yet bursts with extraordinary flavors mingling from the shrimp and the ultrasucculent texture of the chayote. In my opinion, it needs nothing else, but if you want to add a handful of cherry tomatoes, more for color than for taste, go ahead.
Makes 4 Servings
• 1½ cups Shrimp Stock
• 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (13 to 15 shrimp)
• kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 chayote (about 8½ ounces each)
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 onion, finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
• a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 4 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1. Place the shrimp stock in a small sauce- pan and keep at a low simmer. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper on both sides
2. Wearing rubber gloves (since chayote is very oily), cut the ends off each chayote and peel the outer skin with a vegetable peeler Cut the chayote in half vertically from the long side and remove the core using a melon bailer or a paring knife. Cut each half into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice into medium pieces on a bias Place in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss.
3. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat Add the chayote and cook, stirring occasionally, without letting it turn brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it gets soft, another 3 minutes Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the stock and simmer everything at low heat until the chayote is soft and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Don't let the liquid evaporate too much.
4. In a 12-inch skillet, melt the remaining butter, add the shrimp to the pan, and cook until it just starts to turn orange and opaque, about 1 minute per side.
5. Transfer the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the saucepan and simmer every- thing together at low heat until the flavors start to mingle, 2 to 3 minutes Make sure not to overcook the shrimp or they will taste rubbery.
6. Add a few drops of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with the chives.