Mardi Gras Shrimp and Sorbet Recipes
Here in Louisiana the winter holidays do not slow down after New Year’s Day. Starting with Little Christmas, (January 6) the festivities gear up again with the start of Mardi Gras season. From king cakes at every gathering to raucous tunes on the radio and and on every music playing device, to krewes dressed to wow and masked balls every weekend, the celebration culminates in parades with everybody yelling, “Throw me somethin’ mister!” There is the New Orleans experience of course, and that has it devotees. Those of us in Acadiana prefer things a bit more family friendly, however, and while our Mardi Gras maybe less risqué, it’s no less exciting. If you’ve never seen extraordinary filmmaker, Pat Mire’s, acclaimed documentary, Dance for a Chicken: The Cajun Mardi Gras, check it out. It’s great. And it will give you the real story on where the traditions come from.
Everything about Mardi Gras is over the top, and if you’re here and going to parades and balls, you might not be thinking about menus, but you might wish for a lighter alternative to king cake without foregoing the color and festive flavor. Sorbet is super easy to make, and it’s refreshing after a rich meal of gumbo or other traditional dish. Sparkling wine adds a sophisticated note and makes for a show-stopping finale to a Mardi Gras party. Many of the standby dishes are old favorites like jambalaya, red beans and rice, and boiled crawfish (as soon as the season kicks off). I thought I’d riff on New Orleans barbecue shrimp and add sweet potatoes and green beans to take the dish from what is usually an appetizer to a main course. And if it matters, it’s paleo and gluten-free, too!
No menu for Mardi Gras would complete without a roster of classic tunes, so I’ve got an hour of music to keep you dancing while the shrimp simmers and you sit down to feast. Then hit repeat and dance the night away!
- 1 1/2 lbs. large shrimp in the shell
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes peeled and thickly sliced
- 1 lb. green beans trimmed
- 1 lemon halved and thickly sliced
- 3-4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce more or less to taste
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves removed from the stems
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- 7-8 tbsp unsalted butter more or less to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
Fill a large bowl with cold water and lots of salt (it should taste like the sea). Add shrimp and allow to soak for 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, add sweet potatoes to a medium saucepan with 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp water. Cover and cook over medium low heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Do not allow to brown. After 5 minutes, toss the slices and lower heat if necessary. Taste and check for tenderness. Set aside and keep warm.
In a medium saucepan add 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp salt, bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add the green beans and cook until crisp tender, about 5-7 minutes. Taste and check for doneness to your liking. Set aside and keep warm.
Drain shrimp. In a 12-inch skillet, squeeze lemon slices to release all their juice. Add slices to skillet and bring to a boil over medium high heat. When bubbling, add 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, and Tabasco sauce. Add shrimp to the skillet and toss in the sauce, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. Add butter one tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan and lifting it occasionally to keep from overheating. When you've added about 4 tablespoons of butter, taste the sauce. Add more butter, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt and pepper until the flavor is to your liking. The shrimp will be cooked after about 5 minutes. Do not over cook. Serve with sweet potatoes and green beans - and lots of napkins!
- 1 large mango peeled and cut into cubes
- 6 kiwi peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 cups blueberries rinsed and divided
- 8 tbsp raw honey
- 2 1/4 cups Champagne or sparkling wine
Make three batches of sorbet.
For mango sorbet, add mango cubes, 2 tbsp honey and 3/4 cup Champagne to blender. Purée until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste for honey; it should be fairly sweet as freezing will diminish the sweetness. Strain through a sieve. Freeze in ice cream maker until fairly firm, about 30 minutes. Remove to a container and freeze.
For the kiwi sorbet, add fruit, honey and Champagne to blender. Proceed as in step above.
For the blueberry sorbet. Add 2/3 of the berries to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5-6 minutes until berries are soft and juice is syrupy. Add to blender with remaining raw berries, honey and Champagne. Proceed as in first step.