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marinelife's avatar

Have you ever heard of mirlitons?

Asked by marinelife (62455points) October 17th, 2015

I kept reading in a series of books about mirlitons (hint: the books were based in New Orleans), and I had never heard of them.

Finally, I googled an image of it, and saw that it was what I called chayote.

Have you ever had them? I had them once in Mexico (as chayote) and really enjoyed them.

Do you have a favorite recipe for them?

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14 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

To eat them or to feed them? ALSO I have never heard of them.

zenvelo's avatar

Nope, but maybe I will find a place to try them!

Jeruba's avatar

Heard of them? Oh, yes. They figure in a song written and performed by Chris Smither, one of his fans’ favorites, which I have known for years and years and years. Chris used to perform in Boston, but he’s from New Orleans and says that’s the term locals use for that kind of squash.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip4cJwPZFZQ

Jeruba's avatar

I should have said melon. He calls it a melon, if I recall correctly. In concert he usually explains the reference before singing the song. He says that this melon has lots of different names, but that if you hear anybody call it a mirliton, you’ll know that they come from within 60 miles (I think he says 60 miles) of New Orleans.

Cruiser's avatar

Food Network;charset=UTF-8 has quite a few recipes using
Chayotes

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, I’ve often heard of mirlitons, no I’ve not tried them.
I’m spending the day with my friend that loves New Orleans…maybe I’ll remember to ask her. If so, I’ll report back thi evening.

marinelife's avatar

@Jeruba Thank you for the introduction to Chris Smithers, whom I had never heard; he is an amazing songwriter and singer. One vine leads to another (if mirlitons grow on vines, which in my imagination, they do).

Jeruba's avatar

@marinelife Oh, you’re very welcome. I’ve been a fan of Chris Smither (no final s) since before he was voted “best new Boston performer” in 1967. I voted for him, in fact. He’s the real thing.

2davidc8's avatar

Never heard of mirlitons until now. I see that they’re also called chayotes. Well, if you’re talking about the veggie, yes, I’m familiar with chayotes from the years I spent in Costa Rica, which happens to be a major growing region for this vegetable.
As I recall, one dish that I liked very much was mashed-and-stuffed chayote, similar in idea to deviled eggs. My recollection is that you first boil the chayote until the flesh is soft enough to cut in half and scoop out. You scoop out the flesh carefully (because you need the shell for later). Then you mash it like mashed potatoes, mix in butter, salt and other seasonings, then stuff back into the shell and top off with bread crumbs. Then you put it in the oven until the bread crumbs are toasted.
Well, I found some chayotes in a store (here in No. Calif.) recently and decided to try it. Maybe my recollection was wrong, or the chayotes here in California are different. Even after boiling the chayote for 40 minutes, the flesh was still very very difficult to scoop out. I tried my best. Then when I tried to mash it like mashed potatoes, it didn’t mash well. Maybe if I had put it in the blender. But by then I was too frustrated and too lazy to put it in the blender. I continued with the rest of the steps as described, but the result was less than satisfactory.

Give it a try and see if you can improve on my recipe. If you do, please let me know.

marinelife's avatar

@2davidc8 Perhaps this tip from a column I read will help the next time: “Because of its dense flesh, it takes surprisingly long to cook chayote—30 to 40 minutes to steam or boil a whole one.”

Source

Adagio's avatar

They also known as chokos in NZ, although they are not a much seen vegetable/fruit. And yes I have eaten them on many occasions. They have a very tough skin that must be peeled off thoroughly. My mother used to steam slices and serve them with a white sauce. But they can also be be sliced relatively thinly and used in stirfries, I’m quite sure they are very adaptable because they do not have a strong flavour. I like the texture. The fruit grows on a sprawling vine that produces A LOT of fruit, it will climb up into and over trees given the chance.

2davidc8's avatar

@ibstubro Thanks for those recipes. They’re definitely different from the one I remember. We did not use any cheese, we mashed the flesh into a pulp (not just chopped), and we topped with bread crumbs. Anyway, that’s how I remember it. But these new recipes look like they’re worth a try!

ibstubro's avatar

I was surprised that one recipe mentioned chayote or zucchini, @2davidc8. I imagine the peels and flesh texture to be quite different.

Cheese seemed to be a popular addition. Initially all the recipes I came up with had shrimp or crab, also, and I eliminated them because the dish you were looking for seemed pretty simple and straightforward.

Were I you, I’d try peeling and dicing the flesh, then boiling or steaming like potatoes for mashed potatoes.

It just occurred to me – you could predict the effectiveness of a ricer by running a cooked potato (veggie) cube through a garlic press.

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