Stuffed Mirlitons with Shrimp and Tasso
This is a traditional Christmas favorite in New Orleans
A mirliton (locally pronounced mel-a-tawn) is a small, pale green, pear-shaped gourd with a funky little puckered end that resembles a Muppet's grin. They are more commonly know as chayotes outside of south Louisiana. Like any squash, they can be fried, baked, sauteed, pickled, creamed or pureed. If you can't find them, substitute yellow crookneck squash, zucchini or eggplant
Tasso is a heavily seasoned, cured and smoked ham. If you can't find it, substitute chopped ham or any type of sausage.
When stuffed, the subtle sweetness of the mirliton blends well with the delicate flavor of the shrimp and the smokiness of the tasso.