Mirlitons (pronounced MEL-lee-tawns or MER-lee-tawns) are a type of squash found growing wild and in backyards throughout southern Louisiana. They're pale green, with a delicate flavor and a large, dence central seed. In other parts of the country, they're called chayote squash. I've used them as the primary ingredient in this variation on the classic ratatouille that I find very tasty.

If you don't want to grill the mirlitons and eggplant, you can instead brush them with olive oil and bake them on a sheet pan until half-cooked.

Cut the mirlitons in half and scoop out the seed, then slice into 1/2" slices. Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2" slices. Slice the onions crossways 1/4" thick, then cut each slice in half to end up with semicircular pieces of onion. Core and seed the peppers and chop into 1/2" dice. Chop the garlic. Prepare the tomato concassé.

Brush the mirliton and eggplant slices with olive oil and grill (or bake) until about half-cooked. (Some nice cross-hatch grill marks would be particularly nice.) Sauté the onions and peppers in the remaining olive oil until half-cooked. Add the garlic, and sauté for one additional minute.

Cut the grilled mirliton and eggplant slices into large dice. Combine all the vegetables and seasonings into a brazier or heavy saucepan. Cover and cook in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors are well-blended. If the vegetables are too juicy, cook uncovered on the stove top for a few minutes to reduce, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

Adjust seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

YIELD: About 20 four-ounce portions.  

vegetables and side dishes | creole and cajun recipe page
the gumbo pages | search this site

Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)