Monday, January 18, 2010

Papaya Heaven Recipes

Papaya Salsa 

Serve as an accompaniment to enchiladas, tacos, molés, seared ahi tuna, or with chips.

1 medium ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
¼ small red onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or more to taste
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon salt or more to taste
½ red or green jalapeno pepper, minced

1. Combine the papaya, garlic, onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt and jalapeno in a non-reactive bowl, stirring well to mix.
2. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Taste for salt and lime juice. Add more as necessary.

4 servings
Adapted from The Junior League of Honolulu, Inc.’s Aloha Days, Hula Nights

First Night Dinner Salad

2 heads butter lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into pieces
1 pink grapefruit, sectioned
1 small papaya, seeded, peeled, and sliced
½ cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
4-5 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch strips
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or green onion
Coarse-grain Hawaiian salt, if available (white or pink), optional 

Red wine and paprika vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon paprika, smoky or regular
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the sectioned grapefruit and sliced papaya in separate bowls.
2. Fry the bacon until it is slightly brown and a little crispy. (I like limp bacon but I may be alone in my preference.)
3. Make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring with a fork to mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can add a touch of sugar if your vinegar is quite sour.
4. Mix the greens with the onions in a salad bowl. Add about half of the dressing and toss carefully.
5. Arrange the greens on four dinner plates. Distribute the papaya slices, grapefruit sections, bacon, and macadamia nuts over the greens. Spoon the remaining dressing over each plate to moisten the fruit and nuts. Sprinkle with the optional coarse salt.

You can also add avocado slices if you desire.

4 servings for a light dinner or 6 for a side salad
My own devising

Papaya Quesadillas with Spicy Tomato Relish

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, red or green, seeded and finely diced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 ripe large papaya, seeded, peeled, and diced
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 ounces Asiago cheese or other mild white cheese, shredded
10 10-inch flour tortillas
4 tablespoons butter, softened (or bacon fat if you have some)
Sour cream, for serving

1. Make the Spicy Tomato Relish before you begin the quesadillas. See recipe below.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet (metal or pottery) over medium heat. Add the jalapeno and onion. Sauté 5 to 10 minutes until wilted and slightly golden brown. Stir in the papaya. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté briefly to warm the papaya. Set the pan aside.
3. Butter one side of each tortilla (or use the bacon fat if you’d like). Lay buttered side down in a hot skillet. Cover with one-fifth of the onion/papaya mixture. Sprinkle with about ¼ cup shredded cheese. Top with the second tortilla, buttered side up.
4. When browned on the bottom, carefully turn the quesadilla over to brown the other side using as wide a spatula as you have. If any of the filling falls out in the process, tuck it back inside. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a 250ºF oven on a rimmed baking pan.
5. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling, moving them to the oven as they are done.
6. When done, cut each of the quesadillas in half. Scissors work well. Serve warm with Spicy Tomato Relish and sour cream.

6 servings (if everyone eats about 1½ quesadilla halves)
You may have a little left over for lunch the next day. The cookbook suggests serving this as an appetizer, cutting the quesadillas into wedges, like a pie.
Adapted from The Junior League of Honolulu, Inc.’s Aloha Days Hula Nights

Spicy Tomato Relish

6 ripe tomatoes or 8 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1½ teaspoon cumin seed
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seed, optional
¼ teaspoon mustard seed
1 small dried hot red chile
Salt to taste

1. Put the chopped or canned tomatoes, ginger, garlic and curry powder in a saucepan, stirring to mix.
2. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin, fenugreek, mustard seed and chile pepper until the mustard starts to pop, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add to the tomato mixture.
3. Cook the tomato sauce on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Season with salt to taste.
4. Remove from the heat. Scrape into a bowl and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you have any leftover, you can use as a filling for an omelet.

 Adapted from The Junior League of Honolulu, Inc.’s Aloha Days Hula Nights

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