Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Yes it’s Mardi Gras, and once again you’re not prepared. Most likely, you’ve not given it any thought. Shame! It’s not too late to snatch victory from the gaping maw of culinary defeat. All that’s required are a couple of key tools and you are well on your way to bringing a bit of ol’ NOLA into your home.
Time is definitely short so we’ll go with 2 ingredients that multi task very well. The most basic is a good bayou seasoning. Most of what you find in the stores are little more than seasoned salt, so why not make your own out of what you already have on hand? Easy, cheap and infinitely better.
2 ½ tbsp paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
Combine all the above ingredients and you are locked and loaded. Use to blacken chicken or fish. Add a couple of tablespoons to a creamy pasta sauce or toss with roasted baby red potatoes. Whatever you want to do, it’s your show and definitely feel free to change the above ingredients and proportions to suit your taste.
Next up is a classic Creole condiment: remoulade. Remoulade goes best with fish, but this is so good you won’t hesitate to lick it off an old boot. And again, you already have most of these ingredients on hand.
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp finely chopped celery
1 ½ tbsp chopped Italian parsley
2 ½ tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp minced shallot
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp Dijon mustard (whole grain Dijon if you have it)
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp cayenne pepper.
Combine all above ingredients. Serve with crab cakes, grilled shrimp, oysters..whatever you want. Already looking for that boot aren’t you?
So now you have some key building blocks for a suitable Mardi Gras soiree. All that is missing is the proper libation, and here’s the classic:
2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
3 oz orange juice
Juice of half a lime
1 oz grenadine ( I prefer the syrup from a jar of maraschino cherries)
1 tbsp simple syrup, agave nectar or 1 tsp sugar
Squeeze lime juice into shaker filled with ice. Pour remaining ingredients into shaker and shake well. Strain into hurricane glass (or reasonable substitute) filled with ice. The original Pat O’Brien’s recipe called for 2 parts passion fruit juice to 1 part OJ, but again who of us keeps that on hand? No rum on hand? Then crack a beer – it’s Mardi Gras and it goes well with whatever you’re making. C’est si bon!
Posted by Chris Finley at 1:08 PM