Saturday, January 23, 2010

Captain Bligh's Booty

When William Bligh (left) set sail on the HMS Bounty to the South Seas to collect breadfruit trees, his goal was to bring them to the Carribean to see if they could become a crop suitable for feeding slaves working sugar cane fields and refineries. You don't have to resort such extreme measures. They're available at Iovine Brothers Produce at the Reading Terminal Market for $1.99 a pound.

When one of the cook's at the Down Home Diner, a native of Trinidad, spotted them he quickly grabbed a few for roasting.

Despite its name, breadfruit is treated as a vegetable, not a fruit. The fibrous flesh, a staple in many tropical regions, can be roasted, baked, fried, steamed or boiled. Its taste and texture is loosely compared to potato or fresh-baked bread. In the Caribbean it is sometimes mashed with bacalao, olive oil and cooked onions. The seeds are also edible, and are likened to chestnuts in flavor and texture.

Although primarily used as a substitute for other starchy vegetables, it can also be used as a pie filling, though usually in combination with chocolate, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, sweet yams or taro.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden's website offers a number of recipes here.

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