Serves 6. Recipe is from John Folse. “Mirliton is known by many Americans as chayote squash or vegetable pear and by the French as christophene. The vegetable was brought to Bayou Country by the Canary Islanders or 'Los Isleños,’ who relocated to Louisiana when Spain took ownership of the territory from France.”
6 mirlitons, halved lengthwise
1/4 lb. butter
1 cup (1/4-inch) diced onions
1 cup (1/4-inch) diced celery
1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diced red bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tbl. chopped basil
1 lb. (70-90 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and black pepper to taste
Granulated garlic to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups Italian bread crumbs, divided
12 pats butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil mirliton halves in lightly salted water 30 to 40 minutes or until meat is tender enough to scoop from shells. Once tender, remove from water and cool. Using a teaspoon, remove seeds and gently scoop all meat out of shell, being careful not to tear shell. Discard excess liquid accumulated while scooping meat. Reserve meat and save shells for stuffing.
2. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, minced garlic and basil and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.
3. Blend in shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until pink and curled.
4. Mix in reserved meat from mirlitons and cook 15 to 20 minutes, chopping large pieces with a cooking spoon. After most of liquid has evaporated, remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, hot sauce and parsley. Sprinkle in approximately 1-1/2 cups bread crumbs to absorb any excess liquid and to hold stuffing intact.
5. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and stuff into hollowed-out shells. Place stuffed mirlitons in a baking pan and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Top each mirliton with 1 pat butter. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Serve one mirliton half as a vegetable side dish or two halves as an entrée.