Breadfruit Three Ways

Breadfruit has, up until recently, been missing from my list of fantastic foods. Not because I didn’t like it, but only because we had never crossed paths. My sister has been a raving fan for years, and I am holding her responsible for not being more adamant that I try them.

Breadfruit is a close relative of Jackfruit. The fruit grows on trees that can reach up to 85 feet, with the actual fruit varying from the size of a small Nerf ball, up to the size of a decent watermelon. I think the fact that these trees only give out their treasures at certain times of the year, preserving them being a bit tricky, and that they have a pretty short shelf life has contributed to me missing out on them all these years.

But alas, on my trip to the farmer’s market this weekend, we met. I brought it home, it spent the night, and then today we fell madly in love. I really had no idea what to do with it, how to treat it, or how it would behave. All I knew was that it tastes like a cross between a potato & an artichoke heart. So between the lady who sold it to me & advice from my sister, I opted for roasting half of it, boiling the other half and then devising three different ways to get to know it.

The first is boiled and then tossed with butter, parsley & parmesan cheese. Simple enough, and that was when the infamous love at first bite happened. I predict it will definitely have you at “butter & parmesan”, but here is another twist…

The second recipe is a Breadfruit Gratin, if you will. (this recipe makes a small casserole, so you’ll have to adjust if you’re feeding more people). The recipe below sealed the deal for me, and skyrocketed breadfruit to the top of my list of fantastic foods. This is definitely my favorite version.

Breadfruit Gratin

  • Peel, core & chop about 2 Cups of breadfruit, add to boiling, salted water & cook until tender.
  • Meanwhile saute 1/4 C. red onions and a couple cloves of chopped garlic in butter or olive oil until softened.
  • Next add 1/2 Cup of heavy cream and 1/2 Cup of milk stir until slightly thickened.
  • Add 1/4 Cup of shredded cheese and stir until melted.
  • Stir in cooked breadfruit, top with bread crumbs and a bit more cheese and then pop it under the broiler till browned.

And lastly, I decided to give it a sweet treatment and came up with Roasted Breadfruit & Melon with Lime Ginger, Coconut Sauce. The texture of the breadfruit in a dessert is unusual, given it’s potato-like texture, but the flavors in the sauce work pretty well together. 

Roasted Breadfruit & Melon with Lime Ginger, Coconut Sauce.

  • Cut bread fruit in half, drizzle with a little olive oil, wrap in foil and put into a 375 oven until tender.  Chop roasted breadfruit into small pieces & scoop out melon with a melon baller.
  • Combine 1 Cup coconut milk, the zest of 1 lime, 1 Tbs. honey, 1 Tbs. grated ginger & a pinch of ground ginger & cinnamon.
  • Pour over melon & breadfruit, top with toasted coconut & serve.

Breadfruit seems to be just as versatile as the potato, which means that there are zillions of ways to enjoy them. Whichever you choose, when you see this beauty at the market, be sure to snatch some up!

Heidi Anderson

Heidi is a professional photographer & writer, eater & drinker in Honolulu, Hawaii. After attending The Academy of Art in San Francisco, she opened a children's photography studio in Los Gatos, CA, but eventually the pull of the Islands brought her back to Hawaii to open a studio there. She has become a renowned children's photographer & has since cultivated her food lust by photographing food for local restaurants, as well as collaborating on a Cuban cookbook project where she is the photographer, writer & recipe tester. With her motto being: Will Work For Food, she also documents her pursuit to "eat, drink & be merry" on her food blog, Swigs & Grinds. You can find her at www.swigsandgrinds.blogspot.com & www.keikiphoto.com

1 Comment
  1. Loved this article! Low and behold, while out to dinner with a group, ended up having a lengthy conversation about all the uses of breadfruit. It was inspired by Heidi and cultivated a new friendship. Thanks for writing about it!

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