MIRLITON SALAD

Mirliton (pronounced mella-ton) is a squash native to Mexico. In Mexico, they are called chayote squash. In Louisiana, they are called mirlitons and alligator pears. Mirliton also grew in 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. Mirliton grew freely in her backyard, which made them a go-to staple for many dishes.

Vinaigrette

First, let’s make the vinaigrette: In a bowl, dump 1/4 cup jalapeno jelly, 1/2 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 (4 oz.) can of clams, chopped retain 1 tablespoon of the liquid for the salad add the remaining liquid to the vinaigrette,1/4 cup salad shrimp, 1 small jalapeno pepper finely chopped, seeds and veins removed, 1 (4 oz.) can roasted red bell pepper drained, 3 green onions, sliced, 1  cup spring salad greens, 1 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 a couple of tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the salad, mix well.  Adjust dry seasonings to your taste.

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