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A papaya is an elongated tropical fruit with a green shell and red or pink flesh. Rich in vitamin A and lycopene, this fruit is extremely popular in summer cuisine, especially in sauces for warm-weather entrees. Papayas are naturally sweet, so they work well with other sweet ingredients — like honey and other fruits — though their acidity helps them marry with spicy and acid flavors as well. Different kinds of papaya sauce work well on light cakes, ice cream, chicken, pork, and fish. The recipe a cook chooses depends largely on what he or she plans to serve with it.
Some of the most popular papaya sauce recipes are sweet and sugary. Many cooks like to peel, seed, and cube their papayas in preparation for blending with other tropical fruits. Pineapple, mango, and coconut all typically taste good in combination with papaya. Blueberries and bananas are also delicious pairings. A papaya sauce for a dessert might be a blend of coconut milk, blueberries, strawberries, and a touch each of honey and cinnamon. A simpler sauce might leave out everything but the honey and papaya, and the honey should thicken and sweeten the papaya slightly, bringing out its flavors.
This sweet sauce may be served over waffles, pancakes, pound cake, or shortcake. Others might enjoy it on top of vanilla or strawberry ice cream. Cooks could even add this sauce to parfaits and smoothies. A parfait constructed with alternating layers of papaya sauce, vanilla yogurt, almonds, and different tropical fruits could be delicious. A smoothie with a dash of this sauce in it could also be refreshing and nourishing.
Many cooks enjoy pairing fruit with protein. Papaya sauce often goes particularly well with pork, chicken, fish, and shellfish. The light flavors of these meats complement the sweetness of the papaya. The acids in the fruit also help keep the meats tender and succulent. A sauce for meat might be sweet, as above, or lean more toward the savory side of the spectrum. For a more savory versions, a cook might chop up tomatillos, hot chili peppers, and onions to simmer together with pieces of papaya. Another combination might include garlic, agave nectar, chives, and crushed pineapple.
Some cooks use papaya sauce as a marinade, while others use it only to top the meat or fish. It can also become a tasty dipping sauce for coconut shrimp. Those who want to add extra flavor to grilled items can brush papaya sauce onto the meat as it cooks, or bundle the sauce and meat together in foil-wrapped hobo packs.
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