A Krogen Experience
A Krogen Cooking Lesson
One of the things we like to do when we cruise is find what the local produce is on any given island, and sample the unique cuisine of the places we visit. We spent nearly two months living aboard Equinox in Bermuda, and tasted as many variations as we could find of such as regional specialties like Bermuda Fish Chowder or the well-known Bermuda rum drinks (which we have noted before, the Rum Swizzle and the Dark 'n' Stormy). What we didn’t know is that Bermuda has lots of "pawpaw" trees, often growing wild, and its fruit is used for cooking. We were told "when it's green, it's a vegetable, when it's orange, it's a fruit." We were totally mystified by this; I mean, I'd heard of pawpaw (I think it actually grows wild in Maryland) but had never seen a pawpaw tree. Nor had we ever heard this information about the vegetable/fruit. We were told that when it's green, the “vegetable” can be added to meat dishes and will tenderize the meat beautifully, or can be made into a casserole. When it's ripe and orange, it makes a delicious “fruit” dessert.
Mysteriously, two pawpaws were delivered to the boat a couple of days ago -- left aboard while we were out swimming at Castle Roads. (And we thank the unseen donors for the generosity.) Large and green, I had NO idea how to use them, and they were not like anything I had ever seen before. And, after a brief internet search, I was even more mystified, since all pawpaw references and recipes were for a fruit. Nothing about using pawpaw when “green as a vegetable” -- the photos of pawpaw didn't look like the huge green orbs I had onboard, either.
THEN...I discovered that the Bermuda pawpaw is actually papaya!! Who knew?? True pawpaw fruit is a totally different species, and so yes indeed, what we had were two huge papaya in the galley. Green papaya fruit is often used in stews and curries in Bermuda, and indeed, the raw fruit is rich in an enzyme called papain, which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. I found a recipe for Bermuda Pawpaw Montespan, and after making a huge mess trying to peel the slippery things, I made a mashed vegetarian version as a side dish for dinner...It had a delicate flavor that was a cross between potato and cauliflower, and similar in consistency. We all thought it was quite good, and it’s now another very cool addition to my recipe file! One more reason why we love to cruise!!
Karyn & Rob Rothstein