Chilled Papaya with Lime (Papaya Fría con Lima)
When driving along southern Mexico?s dusty roads, you often see skinny, stalklike plants, 15 to 20 feet tall, crowned with a cluster of giant leaves. Sheltered under the leaves are what look like overgrown pears or small watermelons in muted shades of sunset yellow, orange and pink. What they are, however, are sublimely sweet papayas. The flesh is so delicious that it needs nothing more than a squirt of tart lime juice.
There are many different varieties of papayas from tropical countries other than Mexico. All are usually harvested while still green but will ripen well at room temperature.
- 1 firm but ripe papaya, about 2 lb.
- 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
When the papaya is completely ripe, refrigerate it for at least 4 hours but no longer than 2 days. Cut the fruit in half vertically and scrape the glistening gray-black seeds into a small bowl. Cut the fruit into slices 1/2 inch thick and remove the skin with a small, sharp knife.
Arrange the papaya slices overlapping on individual dessert plates or a decorative platter. Serve with the lime wedges and a sprinkling of the peppery papaya seeds.