Last year we decided our yard lacked some island necessities. So during our weekly hikes, we often returned with trees that would one day bear coconut, bananas and papaya. A short year later, our papaya tree doubled in size and proudly displayed a variety of sizes of green young papaya along her bark.
Not being able to wait until they ripened, before week's end, we picked our first green papaya from our own papaya tree. Having learned from the locals that papaya is meant to be eaten green, we decided it was time to try it the island way.
I was told to pick it, peel and seed it and then cut it into cubes. I simmered it for about 30 minutes until it was soft and seasoned it with salt and pepper and butter. My taste buds needed a little more. So I addeed a little brown sugar and then a little more until my tastebuds were happy with that little aire of sweetness I felt it needed.
Added to our papaya dinner was island yam baked in the oven. Island yam is very different from the yams we know back home. They are much more starchy and less sweet, and yet still delicious and unique in their flavors.
At last night's barn fire on long beach in Old Town, one of the local fisherman showed up with his catch of the day, Bill purchased a fish that the local called "Jack Carvel" which pan fried up very nicely. And the cost was much cheaper than we would have paid back home.This was a real island meal.
Bill and I realized that we had eaten green papaya often at some of the local restaurants. We just did not know what it was we were eating. Later that evening, Bill researched our fish, which did not fit the description of Jack Carvel. Sometimes we wonder if the fisherman even know what they are catching..Every day is a new adventure!