Merlitons

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BlueCat

Sous Chef
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Sep 2, 2004
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551
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USA, Illinois
Does anyone know if there is a substitute for a merliton? Are they anythining like any of the other pears I see in the store? I've never seen one in the produce department, and I'd like to try a crown roast recipe I saw on the Food Network site, made with merliton stuffing.

Thanks,
BC
 

kitchenelf

Chef Extraordinaire
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Feb 21, 2002
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North Carolina
I see chayotes quite often BlueCat - but if you can't find them

Substitutes: zucchini (stonger flavor, cooks more quickly) OR kohlrabi OR other summer squash OR carrots OR bell peppers (for stuffing).

If you do find chayotes/merlitons be sure and peel them but seeds can remain in as they are edible.
 

BlueCat

Sous Chef
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Sep 2, 2004
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551
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USA, Illinois
Thanks, everyone. I may have seen chayotes before, but I've never heard of pattypans. I may have to rethink this recipe, however, because I'm not a huge fan of squash - it's only bearly tolerable. I am a huge fan of pears though, and thought that would make an interesting stuffing ingredient for a crown roast.

BC
 

Claire

Master Chef
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Sep 4, 2004
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Galena, IL
As everyone said already, merlitons aren't even remotely close to pears. Only relationship is the shape. In fact, I find merlitons/chayote rather tasteless. But the underlying answer can be ... if you love pears, and want to try them in a stuffing, why not go for it? I love pears and apples in savory salads; and fruit is a traditional accompaniment to pork or game. Live dangerously and let us know what happens!!
 

kitchenelf

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Claire, you said exactly what I was going to say. Pears sound absolutely wonderful to use in your stuffing!!! So go for it!!!! You can also get some pear nectar or pear juice and make your gravy with it.
 

Bangbang

Executive Chef
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Jul 17, 2004
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USA,Michigan
I had to look this up. I have never had them.




Mirlitons, also called "vegetable pear" or "chayote squash", grow wild in Louisiana. If you have a mirliton plant in your backyard, you'll end up besieging all of your family and friends to help take some of the mirlitons off your hands; they produce copious quantities. Mirlitons have a very mild flavor, but when combined with shrimp and ham they come to life. Locally pronouced something along the lines of <MEL-lee-tawns>.
 

norgeskog

Washing Up
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Aug 28, 2004
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Eugene, Oregon
they are also called chayote. Emeril uses them a lot, check the food network on his site. He uses them raw and cooked. Do not know if there is a substitute, would not think a pear would work as a pear is sweet and the merliton is very bland and definately not sweet. It does have a seed, but I would use it as a vegetable.

EDIT: I should have read this thread before I posted.
 

Raine

Executive Chef
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Jun 3, 2004
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NC
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A member of the cucurbit or gourd family, mirlitons are related to cucumbers, summer and winter squash, melons and pumpkins. They are easy to grow, and will thrive just about anywhere the vines find support and plenty of sun.
 

Raine

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Jun 3, 2004
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3,549
Location
NC
4 good-sized mirlitons, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
1/2 pound shrimp, chopped
1/2 pound smoked ham, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 large pinch each oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup green onions (scallions), chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped fine
About 1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shrimp stock, fish stock or water
In a large pot, boil the mirlitons in water to cover for 1/2 hour, or until soft. Drain the water and set them aside to cool. While they're cooling, heat your oven to 350°F and grease a 8 inch square baking dish with butter.
When the mirlitons have cooled, scoop out the seeds carefully and discard them. Then scoop out the "meat", leaving about 1/4" all around. Chop the "meat" and put it in a bowl, setting the mirliton shells aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp, ham, garlic and seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the mirliton "meat", milk, onion, green onion, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well. Remove the skillet from the heat and spoon the mixture into the mirliton shells. Top each of the filled shells with about 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs.

Put the mirlitons in the baking dish and carefully pour the stock into the dish around them.

Bake, uncovered for 1/2 an hour. Eat and enjoy.
 

Claire

Master Chef
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Sep 4, 2004
Messages
7,967
Location
Galena, IL
You know you're talking mild flavor when zucchini are stronger than merlitons. I loved them stuffed. Ever been to Lagniappe Too (or is it Two? Don't remember). But it is such a mild flavor that when given a bunch of them, I just chop them up and stick them in any soup I happened to be making. Aren't they also called Alligator Pears?
 

LesleyCarol

Assistant Cook
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
14
Location
Hamilton, ON, Canada
Pears and pork go together beautifully. I braise thick pork chops with pears and white wine - yum. To be sure, pears aren't a substitute for merlitons/christopenes/chayotes/chochos but pears do complement pork.
 

Chef Wil

Cook
Joined
Apr 22, 2005
Messages
62
Location
Washington California
LOL, I had to think what Merlitons are! Chayote is what I find them as here in California but I was introduced to them as Gater Pares. If you see one floating in the water it looks just like a gator poking it's snout above water.

They are great for stuffing and as a filler, it takes on other flavors easy. For a salad or other foods where you need a little flavor try jicama's sweet/nutty flavor. Jicama is a great sub for water chestnuts too.
 

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