- Chayote are also known as: Chayotli, Christophen, Christophine, Vegetable Pear, Mango Squash, Mirliton, Choco, Xu-xu, Zucca, Alligator Pear, Kajot, Choke, Pepineca or Buddha's Hand Squash
- Origin and cultivation: from Mesoamerica, popular with Aztecs and Maya; cultivated world wide, and popular in Asia as well as Central and South America
- Availability: found year-round especially in Latin groceries
- Appearance: resembles a bright green pear, with a wrinkled crevice on the bottom; can be smooth on the outside, wrinkly on the outside, or prickly
- Flavor: mild slightly sweet flavor with hints of cucumber and almonds; all parts are edible including the skin, seed, roots, leaves and stem
- Trivia: keeps its shape very well after cooked; depending on the variety, can be mildly astringent and feel slippery when raw (in that case, use rubber gloves to handle)
For the salmon:
4 salmon filets
1 fennel bulb
6 ounces of yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon, minced
For the poaching liquid:
Peels of one of the chayotes, along with both center seeds
1 bouquet garni (a bay leaf, sprig of fresh thyme and sprig of rosemary tied together)
1 cup of dry white wine
1 or 2 cups of water
Using rubber gloves peel the chayote. Cut in half and remove the seed. Reserve both the peels and seed for the poaching liquid. Slice the chayote.
To make the poaching liquid, in a wide pan (that has a lid you'll need to use later), add the chayote peels, the chayote seed, peeled shallot, bouquet garni, wine, and salt. Add the water so that the liquid is equal to the thickness of the salmon, but not so much that it will spill over when you add the salmon. Put on a lid and simmer the poaching liquid for about 20 minutes to get the flavors going.
Meanwhile, slice the fennel bulb in big chunks, reserving some chopped green fronds.
Put the salmon in a single layer in the poaching liquid and lower heat to just below a simmer. Pour some liquid over the fish. Add the fennel and chayote slices. Cover and continue cooking on very low heat for about 10 minutes, until the fish is firm and opaque. Carefully take out the salmon, fennel and chayote.
Make the sauce by mixing the yogurt with lemon zest and the reserved chopped fennel fronds.
Put the salmon on top of the fennel and chayote. Top with the yogurt sauce.