While on the island of Maui, I took full advantage of the fact that papayas were local and in season. One morning, I enjoyed the melonlike fruit for breakfast in a straightforward tropical medley, with other South Pacific favorites like passionfruit and starfruit; now, I'm longing to dress it up slightly, perhaps with some cacao nibs and hazelnuts for crunch.
The fruit could've just as easily been shaved or shredded into a savory Southeast Asian salad. Much like mangoes, the papaya can be enjoyed unripe, and adds crunch and sweetness in a toss with fish sauce, dried shrimp, and garlic in the Thai salad known as som tam. Get the recipe for either when you read on.
1 cup banana, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (from about 1 medium banana) Serves 4. 1 tablespoon dried shrimp Serves 4 to 6.
1 cup kiwi, peeled and cut into medium dice (from about 3 medium kiwis)
1 cup mango, peeled and cut into medium dice (from about 1 medium mango)
1 1/2 cups solo papaya (Hawaiian or sunrise papaya), peeled, seeds removed, and cut into medium dice (from about 1 medium papaya)
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
6 Thai chiles
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons asian fish sauce
4 tablespoons palm or brown sugar
1 pound grated green papaya
1 cup banana, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (from about 1 medium banana)
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
Serves 4 to 6.