It was Thanksgiving before last I had my first Southern feast. The dish that has been on my mind ever since and the one I’ve been wanting to try was the stuffed Mirlitons. Man they were good. Back then I had no idea what I was eating but my mouth was in heaven. Since then I’ve found out a thing or two about this dish and have finally tried making them in hopes of recreating that great taste.
The Mirliton, also known as the Chayote, Alligator Pear, Mango Squash and Vegetable Pear is a favorite food of South Louisiana. I think they taste like a cross between honeydew melon and watery artichoke. Does that do it justice? How about stuffing it with shrimp and crab meat? Brilliant! Makes a great appetizer and looks
Makes 6 servings
3 Large Mirlitons
1/2 lb. wild shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 lb. fresh cooked crab meat
1 med white onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
2 tsp. Creole/Cajun seasoning, divided
Seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp. olive oil
Slice mirlitons in half, boil until fork tender. Keep an eye on them–you don’t want to over cook them because if the skin gets too tender they’ll fall apart when working with them. While they’re boiling, dice the shrimp and sprinkle 1 tsp of the Creole seasoning on them. Toss and refrigerate until needed.
When mirlitons are done, drain and let cool until you can handle them. Remove the seeds and scoop out the pulp into a bowl, leaving about a 1/4″ shell to support the skin. Get as much of the pulp out as you can without puncturing the skin.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Saute onions, celery, bell pepper and jalapeno in olive oil for about 15 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Add in garlic and cook for another 3-5 mins. Add the shrimp and bayleaf into the sauteed vegetables and cook for about a minute. Add the mirliton pulp and mix well. Add in 1 tsp of creole seasoning and the green onions, mix well. Cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, or until flavors are married. Taste and season accordingly. Fold in fresh cooked crab meat. Let this rest for about 10 mins off the flame.
S&P the inside of the shells. Spoon the stuffing into each shell. Don’t be afraid to over stuff them. Place the shells on a baking dish and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake on the top rack for about 25 mins or until the bread crumbs begin to brown. My crumbs needed a little push so I cranked up the oven to 500°F and baked for an extra 10 mins to get the browning I desired. Serve hot.
Oh yeah, I’m on my way to Emeril’s fame with these!
(Adapted from Cooking Louisiana)
All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible.