Never in my life have I experienced such ecstasy as when I scooped out the creamy white flesh of a Cherimoya (pronounced chair-uh-MOY-yuh) and tasted it. I know you're thinking "is she for real?" I can't begin to describe the incredible flavor of this fruit. My first spoonful, had me wondering if this tasted like a coconut, pineapple, banana, apple, or mango - YES, all of the above and then some. TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE!!! It's not too acidic or too sweet but just right. Goldilocks and the Three Bears would be in 7th-heaven.
The Cherimoya is the king of fruit with flavors more luscious than you could ever imagine plus contains a host of health benefits. In fact, this ancient Incan fruit was once reserved for royalty. So scrumptious that Mark Twain called it "deliciousness itself" or in other words, "the most delicious fruit known to man."
The Cherimoya resembles an artichoke in color and shape, with a leathery skin (not to be eaten) that has a scaly pattern. Slice it open though and you will discover an ivory, firm custard-like flesh, also called "custard apple," with large black seeds that are not edible.
Choose Cherimoya that are firm and allow to ripen at room temperature. As the Cherimoya begins to ripen, the skin will begin to turn a darker green and will yield to gentle pressure, just like that of an avocado. Refrigerate softened Cherimoya and use within 2-4 days for best flavor.
I've been raving about this phenomenal piece of fruit but haven't mentioned how I discovered it!
Two weeks ago I received an email from Melissa's Produce asking me if I would like to try some of their products to test and share on my blog. I was excited about this opportunity to test my culinary skills in creating dishes for fruits I wasn't familiar with, and two high protein grains as you know, I love to cook with.
The list of unique products were:
Ojai Pixie Tangerines
You can find Melissa's Products in St. Louis at Dierbergs grocery stores or click here for a location in your state. If you can't find it at your grocery store request it from the produce manager.
Now that I've received these special culinary delights, "my mission" has been to sample and compose dishes both my family and readers will enjoy.
During the course of the next 2 weeks I plan to share my creations and discoveries using these ingredients. I hope you will try and enjoy them as much as my family has.
For my first recipe (below) I decided to pair the Cherimoya and Farro.
I've prepared Farro before, a grain that resembles barley when raw, and love it's nutty flavor and chewy consistency. Farro has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. While farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it easier to digest.
Per ½ cup raw farro:
- 1.5 g of fat
- 0 g saturated fat
- 0 mg of sodium
- 34 g of carbohydrates
- 5 g of dietary fiber
- 2 mg of iron
- 6 g of protein
- 4 mg of niacin
- 60 mg of magnesium
- 2 mg zinc
After tasting the Cherimoya I searched recipes online. All I found were sweet, dessert-type dishes, so I decided I'd concoct a savory dish.
Let it be noted, the Cherimoya need not be disguised in any other form than in the raw. It's flesh is like none other and will delight anyone that tries it. But if you're inclined to fabricate dishes like I am, I think you'll enjoy this recipe without sacrificing the flavor of the Cherimoya.
With the Cherimoya's tropical flavors I wanted to feel like I was in paradise so I designed:
"Coconut Encrusted Tilapia
on a Bed of
Farro with a Cherimoya Sauce"
4 (8 oz.) pieces of Tilapia
1 pkg. of Melissa's Farro (follow package instructions)
3/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
3/4 cup Unsweetened Organic Coconut
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon milk
2 Cherimoya, seeds discarded, flesh removed and set aside
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 cup Yuzu Rice vinegar (or regular rice vinegar)
1/3 cup canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350F degrees. Line pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray
Follow package directions for Farro 15 minutes prior to putting fish into the oven. Farro will take approximately 30 minutes to prepare. This way everything will be ready at the same time. (Season as desired. I didn't season it with anything - I like it as is).
Combine milk and eggs in a bowl and whisk together
Combine Panko and Coconut in another bowl and combine
Dip Tilapia pieces one at a time in the egg mixture, then into the Panko/Coconut mixture, season with salt and pepper and place on lined sheet pan, until all pieces have been coated.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, uncovered.
Heat chicken stock and reduce down to 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool.
Once stock has cooled, combine first 5 sauce ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Then slowly add in the canola oil while blender is running on low speed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to serve.
The Cherimoya sauce looks like thick cream but as you can see there's nothing unhealthy in this sauce. It's delicious! Makes about 2 cups of sauce.
Place Farro on plate, top with Tilapia and drizzle Cherimoya Sauce over the top. I also served this with fresh strawberries that I blended together as I ate. Serve with fresh veggie of choice.
This dish was a true delight! I felt like I was in the tropics.
Note: Cherimoya is incredibly delicious raw. Please try it plain, my recipe or create your own.
Farro, can be served plain, combined with other vegetables or fruits to make a nice light and healthy salad, in soups or any way you can think of.
I hope you'll check out Melissa's for a store near you. With unique products like these you won't want to miss out!