The last couple of times I went grocery shopping, I ended up at the Hmong farmers’ market. Where I live there is a huge Hmong community and they are by far the biggest presence at Farmers’ markets all around the cities. However, farmers’ markets are close during this season, but, as it turns out, Hmong markets are not. So I ventured to one of the Hmong markets hunting for vegetables.
As you can imagine, not everything at the Hmong market is your main stream vegetable. And I am attracted to new stuff. So on the trip I collected some bitter melon and some chayotes, as well as other more familiar things like broccoli rabe, limes and mangoes.
I had no idea what to do with it, but turns out chayote are very similar to a sweet and very mild zucchini. Bitter melon on the other hand are very bitter and more difficult to work with. I like them, but BF really didn’t care for them…. Anyway, back to the chayotes.
Since chayote is very similar to zucchini but much milder, I decided to cook it in a frittata. I added in the pancetta (bacon would work as well) to lend the frittata a bit more flavor and paired it with cheese because you always need a bit of cheese and milk in frittata to keep them soft and delicious (plus who can resist cheese?). This fritata is great both hot and cold and can be enjoyed for a light lunch, an appetizer or a Sunday brunch (or anything else you fancy).
- 2 eggs
- 1 chayote
- 1/4 cup diced pancetta or bacon
- 1/4 cup diced mild cheese (I used Syrian cheese, but mozzarella or queso fresco should also work well)
- 2 tbsp milk
- olive oil
- In a warm pan, cook the pancetta (or bacon) until it starts rendering its fat. Meanwhile clean the chayote by opening it and getting out its whitish core. Dice it to the same size of the pancetta and the cheese.
- Consider how much fat was rendered by the pancetta. If it is just enough to cover the bottom don't add any oil, if is less add enough oil that the bottom of the pan is coated, if you have oodles of fat, drain part of it and keep only the fat you need.
- Add the diced chayote to the pan, season it with salt and let cook for about 10 minutes or until soft.
- Meanwhile in a bowl, break the eggs and beat them well with the milk a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper (mine are usually more like 2 pinches of pepper because I like it). When the eggs are well mixed, add the diced cheese.
- When the chayote is cooked, spread it evenly in the pan and pour the egg mixture over it. Swirl around like you would do for a pancake to make sure the eggs are uniformly distributed and let cook for a minute or two.
- To finish cooking you have 3 options: 1) turn the heat on low and cover with a lid so that the steam can cook the top of the frittata, 2) using a lid or your magician ability of flipping things in the air and flip the frittata to cook the second side, 3) place the pan in a 375F oven for about 10 minutes or until center of the frittata is set.
- My favorite method is the oven. The frittata cooks evenly and I don't have to worry about making a mess when trying to flip it, so I suggest you use that. however if you flip pancakes in the air every day, you can give a try to flipping the frittata in the air: it never fails to impress whoever is watching!
- This frittata is good both warm or cold.