So Mardis Gras is upon us. I decided to rerun one of my favorite Mardi Gras dinners. I am not cooking tonight, so it would be a very boring menu today! It seems like winter just won't go away, and we even had a couple of snow days this week...but hang on, it'll be 60 on Friday! Mardis Gras, Ash Wednesday and Lent are the precursors to Easter and the warm weather and sunshine. I am ready to open the windows and dig in the dirt!
I love a Muffaletta, a famous New Orleans sandwich with ham, salami, cheese and the famous olive salad. I have made it into a delicious pizza, much to the happiness of my family. The link is here, Muffaletta Pizza. And honestly, I really want to make that again for Mardis Gras. My favorite flavors on a pizza....but we need to try something new, right? I decided to make this pizza a little more jambalaya-like, with andouille, okra, onion and shrimp. And the crawfish....
12" Mardi Gras Gumbo Pizza
1# Andouille Sausage
¼ red onion, chopped
½ cup chopped peppers (I used multicolor but green would be fine)
½ cup sliced okra ( I used frozen)
½ cup chopped raw shrimp (cleaned)
Assorted Cheese (I use mozzarella and provolone)
Chopped green onions
Crawfish...meat or just one big one!
Sauté andouille sausage in a little olive oil. When the sausage is cooked thru, remove from pan and drain extra grease. Saute onions and peppers until golden, add okra and cook until thawed and tasty. Remove veggies and add chopped shrimp to pan with some Cajun seasoning (Penzey's is delicious) and a little beer (hey, you should be drinking one about now anyway) to release the browned bits from the pan. Cook through.
Layer pizza dough with sauce, the andouille, veggie and shrimp mixture. Top with shredded cheese. I sprinkle the cheese with a little Penzey's Cajun spice mixture and green onions. Bake in a very hot oven, I crank mine to 450°. We decided after eating the whole pie, that the shrimp rocked, and next year we are skipping the andouille and going with a shrimp and okra cajun pizza. And darn if I couldn't talk anyone into eating that little crawfish on top! Of course the first time I made this pizza, my daughter was still in high school. Having been in college close to Louisiana for 3 years, she is a pro at eating the crawfish. I find them tasty, but the stickiness on my fingers is a gross out! I think the packaged crawfish meat would be pretty tasty on this pizza however!
So, it is Mardis Gras, and tomorrow we fast, so why not have dessert? In keeping with the New Orleans theme, I decided to skip the King Cake and go for the Banana's Foster.
4 Tablespoons butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup dark rum
Melt butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a fry pan. Add bananas and cook until they are a bit caramelized. Remove pan from heat and add rum. Mix until well combined and then carefully tip to flame (or ignite). When the flame dies down. Serve over vanilla ice cream. Serves 4. The original Banana's Foster recipes I came across call for banana liquor, but if you read my post on Dark and Stormy's it would come as no surprise that I am allergic to this too! But this simplified version is equally as delicious.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!