Salada de Xuxu (chayote salad)

The first time I saw a chayote, I was almost 40 years old. It was in a grocery store in New Orleans, and there were enormous heaps of them for sale in the produce department, labeled “merlitons” or “mirlitons.” I bought one out of curiosity, peeled it, removed the pit, and sliced it up. It was delicious with dip.

However, I later found out that local folks never, ever ate them raw — they cooked them and made stuffing to go with their Thanksgiving dinner. I wondered if I was the only person in the world who ate them raw. Luckily, I found this Brazilian recipe, so now I know I’m not the only one.

2 chayotes, peeled seeded, and grated
3 oranges, peeled and sectioned (save the juice)
1 bunch of scallions, just the white parts, diced
1 T olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper
Garnish: Fresh cilantro, parsley, or mint

Mix chayote, oranges, and scallions in a bowl. Make a dressing with the orange juice, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper and toss it with the salad. Chill for a half hour to allow flavors to blend. Stir before serving and garnish with fresh herbs.