This famous song is also referred to as the Dance of the Mirliton or Marzipan.  This section is from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker  Suite.  In The Nutcracker’s 2nd act Tchaikovsky throws in a tune about mirliton’s along with an assortment of hot drinks, Russian dancers and a bunch of flowers.


Mirliton (pronounced mella-ton) is a squash native to Mexico.  In Mexico, they are called chayote squash in southern Louisiana they are called mirlitons and alligator pears. Mirliton grew all the swamps the alligators would grab them off the trees and eat them thus the name alligator pears.  Mirlitons taste like a cross between a cucumber and an artichoke heart.  My Grandma frequently prepared mirliton stuffed with shrimp and sausage, or fried and in a salad. Mirliton grew freely in her back yard, which made them a go-to stape for a lot of dishes.

Mirliton Summer Salad

First things first let’s make the vinaigrette: In a bowl dump 1/4 cup jalapeno jelly, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 4 tablespoons Udo oil. Whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved.

Salad:  3 mirlitons, peeled seed removed, and julienned, 1 small jalapeno pepper finely chopped, 1 (4 oz.) can roasted red bell pepper drained, 3 green onions, sliced, 1  cup  spring salad greens, 1/2 cup baby arugula, 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill sprigs, 2 tablespoons  fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 fresh chopped rosemary sprig. Toss it all together, pour the vinaigrette over the salad, mix well.  Adjust seasoning to your taste, with salt and pepper.

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