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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Chef envisions perfect day for breadfruit

I sat on my board off of Poi’pu in Kauai County, soaking it all in while waiting for a set to come in. This was my first time to the South Shore and in fact our first time to this island and so far it has not disappointed. Typical to Kauai was the tropical sunshine to the east and a torrential downpour to the west; a mere six feet away from me. The rain lasted about two minutes as it usually does and then a rainbow surfaced on the ocean from end to end, an inspirational sight.
At this point I was wearing a long-sleeve rash guard since I, as a towhead in the tropics, have had enough sun for the year. I don’t necessarily tan, you see; I go from pink to coral, but I ramble.
Wildlife thrived on the reef, with the water clear enough to see the Reef Triggerfish, Butterflyfish, barracuda, needlefish et al, and as I dove under the waves it resembled nothing of Assateague, as much as I love our little pony-filled hamlet.
To top it all off – to make this the most magical of experiences – was the smell of Hawaiian BBQ wafting off the shore, a smell that has become near and dear to my heart. I know I may anger a few gods by saying this, but Hawaiian BBQ sauce is akin to a thin teriyaki as we know it in the states, and it is hands-down my favorite sauce. Grilled to a crispy exterior and a tender and juicy interior, meats cooked in this style are succulent and beyond measure.
The smell of the BBQ stuck with me as we drove to Salt Pond, a spot on the southwest corner of the island that has to be the saltiest stretch of ocean on the planet. After spending an hour in the water, the sun baked us to a crisp and one could practically crack the salt off of their skin. It was like the world’s largest Epsom bath, and it was good for the soul.
Making our way back to the north end of the island, it was time to relax at the pool. We’ve already snorkeled, surfed, hiked, renewed our vows (the real reason that we’re here) and run amok, but it was time to cook dinner. As luck would have it, the grounds keeping staff was pruning ripe breadfruit from the tree right outside our window. Never having cooked it before, I asked Ali, the manager, if he could spare one. He laughed and agreed, giving me some basic pointers on cooking it. And man was it good.
Breadfruit is a very high-starch fruit (not sweet) that grows on massive trees, and if I had to compare it to anything, I would say it’s a cross between a potato and a cassava in flavor. It behaves like taro when overcooked, getting a bit slimy, but since I cooked it just to tender, it behaved closer to a starchy potato.
I have to toot my own horn here, because I’ve never even held a breadfruit before, but the salad that I made with it was awesome. Paired with soy- and ginger-soaked fried tofu, Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, homemade fried rice, and Shiitakes and Pak Choy, there wasn’t much not to like. And did I mention that the kids ate everything? That was bizarre in our household of chicken nugget and mac and cheese aficionados.
As we get ready to zipline from mountain top-to-bottom, I’m reminded that our little vacation is coming to an end and it won’t be long before we’re back in the grind. I have to take a deep breath and get ready for the upcoming school year; who knew that teaching could be as taxing as running kitchens?
Alas, I’ll quell inner thoughts of work until I’m on the plane; until I’m in the land of no Hawaiian BBQ. And then I’ll have to figure out how to get back here once again.

Breadfruit Salad
Makes about 2 quarts
1 medium breadfruit
Hawaiian sea salt, as needed
1.5 cups mayonnaise
1 head garlic
1  Red bell pepper
1 cup Marinated mushrooms
1/2 cup EV Olive oil

Convince the groundskeepers to cut you down a breadfruit
Some sources say to twist the stem off, invert the breadfruit and allow the latex to seep out overnight. But Ali told me this was not necessary as long as the breadfruit is quickly peeled and the entire core is removed
Cut top and bottom off
Peel breadfruit as you would a cantaloupe by working your large knife in a curved motion, taking off just the skin, assuring that you don’t lose too much flesh
Cut out core, which contains most of the latex
Cut fruit into chunks that are a suitable size for salad; think potato salad
Boil in salted water until easily pierced with a fork. If you let it go too long, mash it up, and use it as poi-like goo
Otherwise drain chunks and allow to steam dry
Roast garlic, pepper and mushrooms in olive oil until tender
When cooled, mince and throw in the salad
Add mayonnaise and toss well. For extra flavor, you can add shredded carrots and scallions, the latter being found on many things in the Pacific Rim
Serve as you would potato salad