Crabmeat and Shrimp Stuffed Mirliton

I stole this recipe from Chef John Folse’s Site, halved the recipe and changed it somewhat to suit my taste. I made this on Saturday night and it tasted so much like the stuffed crab recipe my grandmother used to make, so comforting. This used to be the ONLY way to get me to eat seafood as a kid… I hated all of it (now I mainly just despise strong tasting fish like Salmon) and being from the gulf region, you could see where that might be a problem. Fortunately, living in the Bay Area, our seafood is as good as that from the gulf… especially shellfish. I served this with yukon gold mashed potatoes to which I added shredded pepper jack cheese and some creole seasoning. Yum.

Mirlitons: Say Melly-tawn or Mel-uh-tahn. They are the name for Chayote Squash in New Orleans. Yuppies here in the Bay Area pay upwards of several dollars for one as they are quite en vogue with the foodie crowd. Silly fools… they can get them for less than 50 cents apiece in Mexican markets… or for free in a New Orleans yard… if you have one, you have many as they are a “weed” there! Mirlitons have a delicate almost apple-y flavor when cooked and become quite soft when boiled, like a potato… they are actually pretty starchy for a squash. You can eat the entire shell, peel and all, when this dish is complete. John Folse’s site has several mirliton recipes that look quite tasty.

Crabmeat and Shrimp Stuffed Mirliton

Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yields: 3 Serving

3 mirlitons (Chayote Squash), sliced lengthwise
1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
1/2 pound (70-90 count) shrimp, peeled and de-veined (use gloves! some people are HIGHLY allergic to shellfish shells even if they aren’t allergic to the meat)
1/2 stick (1/8 lb) butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red or green bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (or Creole seasoning)
As many dashes Crystal hot sauce (or any other cayenne based pepper sauce) as you like, to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
6 pats butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil sliced mirlitons in lightly-salted water 30-40 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. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté; onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and basil 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Blend in shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes or until pink and curled. Mix in reserved meat from mirlitons and chop large pieces while cooking. Cook 15-20 minutes, stirring until flavors develop. After most of liquid has evaporated, remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and parsley. Fold in crabmeat, being careful to not break lumps. Sprinkle in approximately 3/4 cup of bread crumbs to absorb any excess liquid and to hold stuffing intact. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and stuff into hollowed-out shells. Place stuffed mirlitons on baking pan and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Top each mirliton with 1 pat of butter. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve 1 mirliton half as a vegetable or 2 halves as an entrée.

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