I’m not from New Orleans nor do I observe Lent, but, ANY excuse for me to cook a themed meal & I am all over it! I cooked our Mardi Gras dinner last night so YOU could read the post today and get some ideas for your own Mardi Gras dinner tonight.
On my menu: Muffaletta Finger Sandwiches, Shrimp Creole and a Mardi Gras Salad with a Creole Vinaigrette
Muffaletta Finger Sandwiches
Recipe comes from a “Cuisine at Home” magazine, with modifications
Serves 8-12 as an appetizer, 4-6 as lunch
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. dried oregano leaves
- 1 cup drained Giardiniera vegetables
- 1 cup chopped green olives with pimentos
- ¼ lb. each of two to three meats: salami, honey turkey, mortadella, capicola, ham
- 1 loaf ciabatta, halved lengthwise
- ~½ lb. sliced provolone or mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place vinegar, oil, mustard, dried oregano, Giardiniera vegetables and olives in a food processor and pulse until vegetables are minced.
Chop meats and stir into Giardiniera mixture. Place ciabatta halves on baking sheet. Spoon Giardiniera-meat mixture evenly over bread and top with mozzarella slices.
Bake until cheese melts and meat is hot, 20-25 minutes. Slice each ciabatta half into 6-8 slices. This is fabulous as an appetizer for a party or watching the big game.
My own recipe
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ medium white onion, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1¾ cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 bays leaves
- 1¾ cup water (1 can’s worth)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- Dash Worcestershire sauce
- Dash hot sauce – optional
- 1½-2 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
- 1 Tbsp. creole seasoning
- White rice, for serving
- Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped – for garnish
- Scallions, thinly sliced – for garnish
Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a dark roux (the color of chocolate).
Add onion, celery and bell pepper (the “trinity”); cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic & cook 1 minute. Add both tomatoes, bay leaves, water, salt & cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss shrimp with creole seasoning in a medium bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce (if using) to tomatoes in pot. Mix to incorporate, then add shrimp. Cook 4-6 minutes (depending on the size of your shrimp), until fully cooked.
Serve over white rice, garnished with parsley and scallions. Pass additional hot sauce at the table.
For a nice presentation, mold rice into ramekins and invert onto large shallow bowls. Spoon shrimp & sauce around rice. Garnish.
Mardi Gras Salad with Creole Vinaigrette
This salad is festive with the Mardi Gras colors of purple, yellow and green
- 2 romaine hearts, sliced crosswise 1″ thick
- ¼ small purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 pint yellow cherry, pear or grape tomatoes, halved (omit if you can’t find yellow)
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. creole mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 yellow pepper, cored and cut into 6 rings
Place romaine, cabbage, tomatoes & cucumbers in a large bowl. Whisk vinegar, oil, mustard & garlic together. Taste & season with salt if needed. Toss dressing with salad. Serve salad on chilled plates and top each with a pepper ring (I completely got distracted while cutting my yellow pepper and ended up with strips instead of rings).
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!