Festive and colorful, the infamous New Orleans Mardi Gras is an event that should be on anyone’s bucket list. Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a holiday that marks the start of Catholic Lent. While this holiday is celebrated throughout Louisiana, New Orleans is the most well-known location, with parties that can rage on for several weeks.
For this Mardi Gras, why not celebrate with some delicious Louisiana recipes? While Mardi Gras is best experienced in New Orleans, there’s no reason why you can’t throw your own Mardi Gras party. Pork, flavorful spices, and seafood like shrimp and fish are all prominent features of New Orleans cuisine and a perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Shrimp Salad Cups with Avocado Recipe
This light and tasty recipe, courtesy of Devan Cameron, the chef, and owner of the recipe site Braised & Deglazed, is the perfect appetizer for a crowd.
“When I think of Mardi Gras recipes the first thing I think of is shrimp! These baby shrimp salad lettuce cups with avocado are ultra-refreshing, easy to prepare and extremely delicious,” said Cameron. “The secret ingredient? Hot sauce. Even if you don’t like spicy food, a little bit of fermented sauce brings out an extra layer of umami in this classic.”
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 12 cups
- 1-2 heads baby romaine (or 1 head of regular romaine)
- 5.5 ounces cooked baby shrimp
- 1 stick of celery
- 1/2 small carrot
- 1/8 piece of cucumber
- 1/2 large avocado
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 small clove of garlic, peeled
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/16 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/16 teaspoon cayenne (add more if you like it hot)
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 6 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce or fish sauce
- 1/4 lemon, juiced
- Sea salt to taste
- Lemon wedges for garnish, optional
- Arugula lettuce for garnish, optional
- Pick off the large leaves of the romaine and save for something else. Find the smaller leaves that will make perfect lettuce cups and soak them in ice water for 5 minutes. Dry with a salad spinner and keep cold in the fridge.
- Cut the veggies into tiny pieces. (They don’t have to be as small as pictured but the smaller the better).
- Cut the avocado right before serving, so it doesn’t turn brown. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt to your liking.
- Serve the shrimp salad in the lettuce cups and garnish with a little smoked paprika and fresh lemon wedges on the side.
Carolina Gold Jambalaya Recipe
This jambalaya recipe is courtesy of Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, a modern “New New Orleans” restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada. This recipe calls for a unique rice — Carolina Gold. This delicate rice is considered the grandfather of long-grain rice in America and was once a major crop in colonial South Carolina.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: Serves 2
- 1 ounce olive oil
- 2 ounce small diced sweet onion
- 1 ounce small diced green bell pepper
- 1 ounce small diced celery
- 6 ounces Andouille Sausage, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 ounces tomato concasse
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/4 cup of shrimp stock
- 10 pieces of jumbo shrimp
- 1 cup Carolina Gold Rice washed
- 1 teaspoon L&P Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Crystal hot sauce
- 1/2 ounce butter
- Shaved green onions for garnish
- Emeril’s Creole seasoning
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Season shrimp with creole and black pepper.
- In a sauce pot, heat up the olive oil and sear the shrimp.
- Remove from pot, and on low heat, render the andouille sausage.
- Add the onions, green bell peppers, celery, and garlic, season and sweat until tender.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook until tender.
- Add the washed rice, Worcestershire, crystal hot sauce, shrimp, and mix all together.
- Add the stock being to a simmer and cover, turn to low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steam for 10 more minutes.
- Taste for any additional seasoning, finish with mixing in the butter, and garnish with shaved green onions.
Redfish Rudy Recipe
This recipe from Walk-On Sports Bistreaux, a restaurant chain that highlights authentic Louisiana food, uses a Louisiana classic — redfish. A mild white fish with a naturally sweet flavor, this recipe pairs the fish with a tart and fragrant Italian-inspired salsa, a perfect balance to the spicy filets.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
For Redfish Ruby:
- 2 Redfish Fillets
- Cooking Oil
- Blackening Seasoning (your favorite brand)
For Tuscan Salsa:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 4 ounces balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 ounce basil
- 64 ounces roma tomatoes
- Season both sides of a redfish fillet with blackening seasoning.
- Lightly dip into the oil to lock the blackening seasoning onto the fish.
- Place the blackened redfish onto a 400 degrees Fahrenheit side of a cast-iron skillet with the side closest to the bone facing down.
- Cook for 3.5 minutes — without touching — to allow for a nice sear.
- Flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F is reached.
- Place the Tuscan Salsa in a 7-inch sauté skillet/sizzle skillet and heat.
- Slightly drain the Tuscan Salsa and ladle it over the center of the redfish, covering the entire fillet. Store the leftover salsa in the refrigerator.
- Serve with seasoned rice or green beans and garlic bread.
Easy Authentic Beignets
A classic New Orleans treat, beignets are essentially doughnuts covered in mountains of powdered sugar and served with strong coffee. This easy and delicious recipe is from Melissa Griffiths, a member of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America and American Society of Baking, and recipe developer of Bless this Mess. Griffiths specializes in creating recipes for busy families and is an expert on sourdough baking.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 24 beignets
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Confectioners’ sugar (at least 1 cup)
- Additional 2 quarts of vegetable oil for frying
- In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the eggs and 2 tablespoons of oil into yeast mixture.
- Add the flour, salt and stir together until well combined. The dough will be a bit sticky, that’s ok.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap (sometimes lightly wetting the edge of the bowl helps the plastic wrap to stick on tightly). Refrigerate dough for about an hour, until it has nearly doubled in size.
- Prepare for frying the beignets by setting a wire rack into a rimmed baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
- Pour the 2 quarts of oil into a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or large skillet, it should fill the bottom of the pot 2-3 inches. Heat over medium to medium-high heat.
- Transfer dough onto a floured counter and cut in half. With one half of the dough, pat into a rectangular shape with floured hands, flipping to coat with flour. Roll dough out into a quarter-inch-thick rectangle (about 12 by 9 inches).
- Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into twelve 3-inch squares.
- Repeat this process with the second piece of dough.
- When the oil is 350 degrees F (using a thermometer is the easiest way to gauge this), add a few beignets at a time (don’t overcrowd the pan). Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes total, flipping halfway through frying.
- Transfer beignets to the pan with the paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough.
- When they are cool enough to touch but still hot, place them on the rack set inside the pan. Dust heavily with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.
King Cake Old Fashioned Cocktail
Named after the story of the Three Kings and baby Jesus, King Cake is a classic dessert of New Orleans and a must-eat during Mardi Gras. A combination of a cinnamon roll and coffee cake, King cakes are usually covered in yellow, green, and purple icing for the colors of Mardi Gras.
This cocktail is an homage to the classic King Cake. Created by Nicholas Bennett, the beverage director at Porchlight, a New York bar with Southern inspirations, this unique Old Fashioned is King Cake in a glass.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 drink
- Combine ingredients and stir over ice.
- Strain into a glass with fresh ice.
- Garnish with a lemon and orange coin.