If you've been searching for a palatable canistel dish don't get your hopes up too high here as this is more of a science experiment than an actual recipe. If you have been searching you've probably came across the serving suggestion of canistel with salt, pepper, lemon and mayonnaise. I don't know about you, but to me that sounds entirely appalling. And yet I didn't have any better ideas and it's not like it's going to waste a lot of other perfectly good ingredients so I thought I'd see what I could do with it.
Another experimental element today is pictures taken with the proper camera I've finally bought. I rather expect picture quality to get worse for a while until I figure out what I'm doing with the thing.
Let's start with the avocado mayo. There are a fair number of avocado mayonnaise recipes out there but they generally fall into two categories, either glorified avocado purees or standard mayonnaise with some avocado blended in. What I'm doing here instead is using the fat in the avocado to substitute for the vegetable oil in a standard mayonnaise recipe. I don't usually go to science blogs for my recipes, but that's where you'll find this one; it's from a blog called Adventures in Ethics and Science.
I whisked an egg with the juice of one lemon and some Dijon mustard to act as an emulsifier. Then I blended that with half of a Monroe avocado. The result was too thin and tasted mostly of mustard and lemon so I added another quarter avocado and gave it a full minute in the food processor. Now it's got the right creamy texture and is starting to take on that distinctive light tanginess of actual mayonnaise mixed with the avocado flavor. Not bad at all, but I'll have to make some tuna salad to make a really fair judgment. There's still a bit more mustard flavor than I'd like, though, so next time I'll have to use a chemical emulsifier instead.
Step two is the canistel. Beyond soups and pies the only cooking instructions I found for canistel were to "lightly bake". I have no idea what that means. I decided to broil it instead to a) see if it would melt, catch on fire, explode or what and b) see how it tastes with a bit of browning.
I cut my two canistels in half, pried out the seeds, scooped out the seed pods, sprinkled them with a bit of salt and pepper and drizzled with a little olive oil. Since I'm experimenting here I thought I'd try some additional flavors. The canistel soup recipe we got in the newsletter is flavored with Chipotle adobo sauce which I happen to have handy so I spread a little of that on one canistel half; The second I brushed with a jerk marinade; The third with a tamarind chili sauce; and the fourth I left plain as a control.
I neglected to time how long they spent under the broiler. I just waited until they started smelling cooked and the sauces had dried into glazes. They didn't brown as well as I had hoped but the bits that did got crispy and caramelized so they're going closer to the heating element if I do this again.
The broiled casinstel didn't do anything alarming to my disappointment. It firmed up and dried out to a texture somewhere between russet potato, winter squash and Play-Doh. It was better than that makes it sound and it sure beats the gritty pudding texture it has raw. On the other hand, it definitely needed the mayo to moisten. Interestingly, the peel, which you wouldn't want to eat raw, is of a piece with the flesh cooked so there was no point in not eating it whole. The flavor has become milder, losing the sickly sweetness and now isn't too far off from a yam. The avocado mayo is a nice accompaniment. Probably better than real mayo I think.
As for the sauces:
The adobo pairs nicely with the canistel and goes with the avocado mayo too.
The jerk not so much.
The tamarind chili sauce is pretty similar to the adobo and works well with the canistel but clashes a bit with the avocado mayo.
The plain needed something so I added some Pickapeppa sauce. The fruity tanginess marries with the canistel and isn't bad with the mayo, but it feels incomplete. I think it needs meat. But that's usually my reaction to Pickapeppa sauce. I think there's the start of a full dish there that I'll work on if I get more canistel.
So, overall I've had better dinners, but that could have gone a lot worse. If you're at a loss as to what to do with your canistels and/or avocados, it's worth a try.