Mardi Gras Menu
By Center of the Plate Specialist Chef Lonnie Varisco
Performance Foodservice - Caro
Whether you say Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, everyone knows it is party time in the Big Easy. Mardi Gras began in Louisiana in March of 1699 when explorers Bienville and Iberville landed in what is now Louisiana. The area where they landed, just south of New Orleans, was named Pointe Du Mardi Gras because they arrived on the eve of the European holiday. The two held a small festival there after landing. When the Spanish took over New Orleans, they banished the festival due to its rowdiness. It was not until New Orleans became a state in 1812 that the revelry of Mardi Gras began again.
In 1857, the first recorded parade began with the Mystic Krewe of Comus. Participants marched down the streets with bands, floats and torches. When the Rex Organization got involved with Mardi Gras, it established the colors of Mardi Gras—purple, green and gold.
I was lucky enough to ride in the Krewe of Endymion with my family for 12 years. Endymion and Baucus are known as super krewes. A krewe is deemed “super” when its riders exceed 1400 and its floats are appropriately large and elaborate. When you are looking down from the float at hundreds of thousands of people cheering and screaming for their share of beads, the feeling is awesome! It’s also curious to see the grills, seafood boiling pots and food that equal the people on the parade route. But then again, in New Orleans food is king as well.
What are these patrons at the parades eating? Boiled crawfish, fried chicken, BBQ ribs, BBQ brisket, cochon du lait, crawfish bisque, corn maque choux and bbq shrimp, just to name a few.
Mark your calendar, lose your inhibitions and learn to yell, “Throw me something mister!” Come to New Orleans seeking fun and great food and you will never be disappointed. If you can’t make it this year, throw a party in your restaurant. I’ve got a few classic dishes from the Big Easy so you can make a perfect Mardi Gras menu.
Cajun Burger with Fried Green Onion
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
Corn Maque Choux