This slide into June has been a hot one. I know that’s a wacky thing to say as we head into summer—it’s supposed to be hot, right? Normally this is the foggy season around my fair Santa Barbara. The current heat wave feels like a vacation in my own backyard. Yes, even with the fires and earthquakes.
When it’s hot, I get a hankering for tropical fruit and this simple papaya dish makes into my breakfast, lunch of even dessert rotation-bonus, it’s vegan. With a sprinkle of toasted coconut, a good squirt of lime juice and some fresh mint you can transcend to island living in one bite. Give it a try and prepare to hear the reggae rhythm ringing in your ears.
The Hawaiian Papaya Industry Association makes sure you can find this floral fruit year around, but they taste best from early summer month to fall. I’ve found great papaya at our local produce store, Tri County Produce—I love that place.
When choosing a papaya to eat right away look for bright yellow skin. If it’s ripe you should be able to push the outside gently with your thumbs and make an indention.
Papaya with Coconut & Lime
Juice of a lime
3 tablespoons shredded coconut (unsweetened)
Fresh mint for garnish
Peel the papaya with a good veggie peeler. Next, slice off the ends. Cut the papaya in half and discard the seeds or save them for another use. (Did you know you can eat the seeds? They taste sort of like a mixture of horseradish and red peppercorns.)
Slice the papaya in semi circles and arrange on a plate. Squeeze the juice over the slices. Quickly toast the coconut in a dry pan until golden in color. Sprinkle with coconut and mint leaves and enjoy.