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Patastes are my favorite vegetable in Honduras. They are roughly the size and shape of a pear, bright green in color, with pebbly skin and creases at the bottom. They’re most well known by their Mexican name: chayote.

Though some of my Catracho friends don’t even like them, I look forward to them every year and will eagerly go to the front of the chow line when I see the steaming tray of patastes on the table. They aren’t an easy vegetable to find in Columbia, Missouri.

I’ve tried some recipes substituting butternut squash or other types of squash, but there’s really no comparison. So I was super-stoked when I saw patastes in the produce section at Walmart one day. I bought a few, and then went looking for a good recipe that mimics the method used by Toyita and her crew in Choluteca. This was the closest I could find…

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 patastes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoons minced cilantro

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add jalapeno and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Add squash, salt and pepper. Cover the pan, reduce heat and cook until the squash is just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the cover and add the cream to the squash; toss gently.
  3. Raise heat and simmer the mixture uncovered, until the cream is almost evaporated and has coated the squash. Add chives and cilantro.
  4. Read more about it at http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1650,129186-252192,00.html