Shrimp-Stuffed Mirlitons

Makes 8 halves. This recipe is from Lou Lato, of Baton Rouge. In this recipe raw shrimp are put into the stuffing mix.

4 mirlitons

2 cups raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 slices bread, soaked in water and then squeezed dry

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or to taste

Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

2?3 cups buttered fresh bread crumbs

1. Cut mirlitons in half lengthwise and place in pot. Cover mirlitons with water and heat to boiling. When water comes to a boil, cover pot and continue cooking until mirlitons are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. If the mirlitons are large, it may take more time. When tender, drain and cool.

2. When cool enough to handle, using a spoon carefully remove seed and the fibrous section holding the seed. Carefully scoop out the flesh of the mirliton, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell. Place the mirliton pulp in a colander and let it drain.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a shallow baking dish with nonstick coating or butter. Set aside.

4. In medium mixing bowl add the cleaned shrimp, onion and garlic. Before adding the mirliton pulp to the shrimp mixture, I use the back of a spoon to press out some of the liquid from the mirliton pulp. Add mirliton to the shrimp.

5. Wet the slices of bread, then squeeze out most of the liquid. Add to the bowl with shrimp-mirliton mixture. Add parsley and season to taste with salt and cayenne.

6. Divide the mixture among the mirliton halves, then place them in the prepared baking dish.

7. Top each stuffed mirliton with buttered bread crumbs. Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes or until shrimp look opaque. More time may have to be added if mirlitons and shrimp are large.