Ah sweet Mardi Gras. With your hues of purple, gold and green and visions of amazing Cajun food dancing in my head I welcome you with open arms. Oh and the fact that you translate to "Fat Tuesday" might be part of what makes me love you too.
A quick little history lesson for all of you about Mardi Gras. The origins can be traced back to ancient Roman times when the festival known as Lupercalia was celebrated in mid February. When the Romans embraced Christianity they didn't want to get rid of all of the pagan festivals (why would they want to give up all of their fun??) and created "Carnival" as a time to celebrate before the season of Lent began. Mardi Gras came to North America with the French explorers Iberville and Bienville. On March 3, 1699 they landed about 60 miles south of what is now New Orleans and called the spot Point du Mardi Gras. The celebrations grew and continued while under French rule but when the Spanish took over all Mardi Gras celebrations were banned. When Louisiana received statehood in 1812 the ban was lifted and the celebrations throughout Louisiana grew over time and developed into what we know today.
Here are a few links where I got my information and to read more:
Moving on to FOOD! Shrimp with Warm Remoulade. This is one of my FAVORITE meals. Mostly I just love the Remoulade sauce and could eat it with almost anything - even by itself. Typically it is served cold over chilled boiled shrimp but I love to dip French bread into it, spoon it over baked tilapia or cod and also serve it warm over shrimp. I have seen so many recipes in cookbooks and on the internet and they are all pretty much the same. My recipe is based on Emeril's "Remoulade" from Louisiana Real and Rustic. When I originally made it I followed the recipe exactly but Preston thought it was too "mustardy" so I adjusted it and used more mayonnaise and ketchup. According to everything I have read there really isn't a right or wrong way to make it because everyone does it differently but everyone uses the same basic ingredients.
First start with lemons - you will need 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
Next chop the onion, green onions, celery and garlic.
Next measure out the horseradish, whole grain mustard, yellow mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup.
And finally chop the parsley and add dry spices. Gather everything together and put it all into the food processor.
Process everything for about 30 seconds or until everything is well mixed.
At this point you can either store the sauce in the refrigerator for several days or use it immediately to make your Warm Shrimp Remoulade (see below for the link).
Remoulade (Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Louisiana Real and Rustic)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
chopped garlic (I use a TON but the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons Creole or whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you want it spicier)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Put all of your ingredients into a food processor and process for 30 seconds. Use immediately or store for a few days in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Here is a link for the Shrimp with Warm Remoulade straight from Emeril's website:
Like I said above, one of my favorite recipes. Honestly the original recipe has less fat because it does NOT call for any mayonnaise but instead uses 3 TB of Creole mustard and 3 TB of regular yellow mustard. But because Preston isn't a big mustard fan I substituted part of the mustard with mayonnaise. I use Kraft's Olive Oil Mayonnaise but I think I might try and use plain greek yogurt to cut the fat even further (and up the protein!!). Serving this cold over shrimp or fresh lump crab meat mixed with fresh greens or even as a salad dressing would be delicious.
So get ready for Mardi Gras my friends and as they say over in Louisiana - laissez les bon temps rouler (Let the good times roll!)!
Hugs and kisses.