Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Pizza

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So Mardis Gras is upon us. Finally. It's been the winter that never ended. Thankfully we haven't had snow in a month, but it seems like my stretches of spring weather come to a grinding halt with a dreary, rainy 45 degree day, like today. But Mardis Gras, Ash Wednesday and Lent are the precursors to Easter and the warm weather and sunshine. Although I will admit, we have run the AC twice in February. Go figure.

I love a Muffaletta, a famous New Orleans sandwich with ham, salami, cheese and the famous olive salad. I made it into a delicious pizza last spring, 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? In the post from last year, I gave my favorite pizza crust recipe, but I have found these great dough balls at the market, and am sold. First of all they are very reasonably priced, they come in whole wheat, and they are soooo convenient. I decided to make this pizza a little more jambalaya-like, with andouille, okra, onion and shrimp.

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)
Pizza Sauce
Assorted Cheese (I use mozzarella and provolone)
Chopped green onions
Pizza Crust

Saute 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 anyways) 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!

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.

Banana's Foster
4 Tablespoons butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 bananas
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!

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