mirliton (chayote squash)

militon and crab salad plated

militon animated gif

militon split

"What are those things?" I asked, to engage, before looking at the label.

"We call them mirlitons." He said facilely switching to French nasal phoneme for the "ton" in mirlitons. "But here," he touched the label under the basket of mirltons, "they're calling them chayote squashes."

Well then, mirliton is how I learned them and so mirliton they will be. Chayote will be second place, no matter how they are labeled in any future grocery.

"What do you do with them?"

"I chop them up and add them to a white sauce.

He was taller than myself and heavier. He smiled as he spoke which displayed perfectly white teeth arranged perfectly in rows like little square Chicklets that had been filed to sharpness with a slight space between each one which appeared would make flossing a breeze. He elaborated, "You start out with a light roux, add milk and, you know, a little cream cheese or whatever, then put in the diced mirlitons."

"A side dish then."

"Yes, it is a side dish. You know," he makes a sprinkling motion, "then you add a little crab meat."

"So you're getting crab here too?"

"Yes. I am. I'm surprised what they're charging for these here," back to the mirlitons, "In Louisiana they sell them for 35 cents and here they are 99 cents".

Louisiana. That certainly places it. If he is disappointed by how much mirlitons cost here then he's really going to be disappointed with the crab.

"I used to live in Louisiana," finding a hook. See how I stretch a chance encounter by reaching? I really do test people's patience if they give me half a chance. "But I managed to avoid hearing about these mirlitons, although there aren't all that many French in Shreveport."

"No, there's not. Ha ha. It's closer to Texas up there." Up there. Reminded me of a joke that Justin Wilson liked to tell, the Cajun chef would say, "A friend of mine from up north, " Justin pauses long enough to give you time to think about Justin having northern friends and then he continues, "and when I say up north I mean waaaaaaaaay up north … he pauses again ... like Shreveport," which of course is very silly because Shreveport is still deep south but not to an Acadian who is deepest south of all.

"Must it be crab?"

"Oh no, it can be anything or nothing at all."

"Must they be cooked?"

"No. Raw is fine too, just be sure to add lime juice."

"What do they taste like?" Impossible to answer with any degree of accuracy, I know, a thing is what it is, but I ask the question anyway to provoke a response

"They're like an apple, or maybe a cucumber. Possibly like a jicama (hik-ama)."

All of this was surprising. I fully expected to be brushed off. Usually I don't get such eager and in depth information from guys.

"Thank you for all this information. You made me to want to try it. Ew. This one's slimy."

"Ha ha ha. Yeah, that happens."

Mirlitons, or chayote squash

Also known as shoko, chocho, tayota, alligator pear, vegetable pear, sayote, chow-chow, and christophene, all this may be useful someday in working out a stubborn corner of a crossword, a member of the gourd family as are squashes, cucumbers and melons.

I like them. A lot. The magic starts when you add lime and salt. Gives a pleasant crunch. Mild flavor. I did not use the man's idea of a cream sauce. Would seem a shame to cook it for my first experiment. The thing is when you add lime to cream it instantly turn to sour cream. That's not a bad thing and always interesting to see but he didn't mention any of that.

I used packaged crab. Blue Star™, America's favorite so it says on the package. How could I go wrong? Possibly by paying $9.00 for six ounce would be how. I justify that the way I justify everything I want, as education expenses. With that as my model I can buy myself anything.

* mirliton, peeled and sliced into strips.
* lime
* tomato, diced
* avocado
* diced onion
* S/P
* chipotle powder
* 6 oz. crab picked crab meat
* lettuce
* hand-made mayonnaise

Assembled. None of this was cooked. The crab is already cooked.

1 comment:

sharkhind said...

great recipe. I like it. My mouth is watering... Delicious post!

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