Tayota is a tropical squash originally from Mexico, but now grown in most tropical regions of the world. The skin is green and prickly. The texture of the meat is similar to that of the summer squash and has an edible seed in the center. It can be stuffed, boiled and served hot as a squash, or cold in salads. There Mexican has little thorns on the outside while the Caribbean variety is smooth. But I believe they are both identical cooked. Mexicans eat the vine flowers as well.
6 large tayotas
1/8 pound Ham, chopped
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
1 Cubanelle pepper, chopped
2-3 olives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cut tayotas in half length wise following fold at the bottom. Steam or boil until cooked but firm. Remove and cool.
While the tayotas are cooking, saute ham, onion, Cubanelle pepper, cilantro, garlic, and olives in oil (about 2 tablespoons). Scoop the tayota meat out of the tayotas, being careful to not rip the peel. Mix the meat with the sauteed mixture. Add tomato paste and cook about 5 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat. Place the 12 peel “boats” on a greased sheet and bake at 350 F. for about 10 minutes. This is done so the peels dry a little and retain their shape. Remove from the oven, and fill each boat with the sauteed mixture.