Cajun Finger Foods?
In the middle of planning a Carnivale party, I realized the plethora of Cajun dishes I know has left me bereft of appropriate finger food ideas. I've turned shrimp etouffee into vols au vent in the past, though it was nothing to rave about. And sucking on crawdads does not translate well for an NYC audience. For this year I've come up with:
Dirty rice balls
Natchitoches meat pie
Deviled crab cakes
Cajun black bean dip
Muffulettas and po boys
Buttermilk fried chicken wings
Any other ideas? Being that we're in the midst of Carnivale, I am not too keen on pescatarian hors d'oeuvres, but I'm open to any other delicious suggestions.
I just saw something that looked FANTASTIC on the Food Network: Deepfried blackeyed peas. Beans: soaked overnight; cooked off with onion, jalapeno and bellpepper; refrigerator-dried on sheetpans and deepfried until brown and crunchy. The chef used Old Bay, and that would work, but you could also throw together your own version of a blackening spice or something with thyme and garlic. It was absolutely beautiful; served in Mason jars at the restaurant but I think individual paper cones would work equally well for a party like yours. They looked like those crunchy deepfried soybeans, remember those? Saw it and immediately thought of you.
JungMann, since you're doing mufulattas and po'boys already, what about adding a small roast-beef po'boy with debris? Another thing I saw down there was cold, dilled or cajun-spiced corn on the cob. You could do small rounds of that on skewers. A pan of dirty rice (ground beer/chicken liver) might be nice. Creole-spiced chicken livers and gizzards are tasty but might not work with the NY crowd. What you have going on sounds absolutely delicious; I know everyone will enjoy.
Edit; Sorry; didn't see you already had thought of dirty rice after a fashion. And my cousin just suggested spicy duck sausage, pan-grilled, with the Jezebel sauce.
Find Paul Prudhomme's Remoulade sauce recipe - from "Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen" or several sources on the Web. Especially good made the day before use, and outstanding for dressing any seafood, e.g. lump crab or small shrimp.
For finger food, stuff in a wonton or small piece of puff pastry and bake it, or just mound it in the corn tortilla chips sold as "Scoops".
I grew up in NOLA. Everyone always had pickapeppa ( http://www.pickapeppa.com/ ) on top of cream cheese with triscuits. I prefer a jelly. Jalapeno jelly my favorite and it looks pretty too. Fisher & Wieser has some nice southern jelly's. Maybe try their pineapple bourbon one over cream cheese or sliced pork or over sliced bananas like banana's foster. If you mix cream cheese with pineapple and push it onto a light cracker with a piping bag with the jelly on top... http://www.jelly.com/product.php?prod=FWG000041. My mom used to take a cherry tomato and cut an x in the top about half way down and then pipe in a mixture of sour cream, cream cheese and Cajun seasoning like slap your mama or Tony Cachere's. I would add a slice of green onion to the top. reminds me too that there are always deviled eggs on a Cajun party table. I sprinkle mine with cajun seasoning. Very common to find deviled eggs with cajun chow chow http://www.cajunpowersauce.com/product.cfm?p=08ACCCE4-D61C-10B5-8D9247EB3E51BB84 or pickled relish. Popcorn with cajun seasoning. Pickled okra. corn fritter. hushpuppies - try them with jalapenos, shallots or green onions. Definitely have to do the Zapps like Cheese Boy said. Maybe a cornmeal johnnycake http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec.... Always had boudin sliced on saltines at relatives house. Kinda country, but very good.
Wow - forgot about pickapeppa. It was an ugly brown, but it was at every party. My favorite over cream cheese was Jezebel sauce, remember it? Hot sweet and perfect over rich cream cheese. I used to give jars of it as gifts, well marked to keep refrigerated, of course.
1 18.oz jar of pineapple preserves (hard to find - substitute apricot jam if you hafta)
1 18.oz jar of apple jelly
1 Tbsp or 2 of dry mustard
1 sm jar of horseradish - didn't use the whole jar; I just taste-tested as I added--until my eyes burned and I croaked for water. ;-)
Cracked black pepper (again to taste)
Combine all ingredients; blend well. Put in jelly jar and refrigerate.
The other old standbys were shrimp dip, marinated crab claws, and spicy sweet roasted pecans.
A friend used to host a spectacular party on the SUnday before Mardi Gras and she always had an excellent headcheese..two, actually. One was kept cold for slicing , the other was allowed to melt and became a dip. Worked great.
The Pickapeppa/cream cheese is an old, old classic. I used it at Xmas....
Not sure what you would really need to add to this, JungMann, it looks like you've covered most of it.
I agree, that some of the sloppy but delicious cajun foods like a shrimp boil are a bit unsophisticated for a NYC audience.
The only things I can think of would be a tossed green salad, with a spicy remoulade dressing for the side, or some Cajun potato salad, again dressed with that spicy remoulade.
Oh, one more thing, that happens to be my specialty, how about a big pot of chicken & sausage Jambalaya? Always feeds a crowd well.
I am trying to put together the most comprehensive list possible, both for my use and anyone else looking to throw a Cajun cocktail party.
I make a good jambalaya and I thought about turning them into rice cakes, but it was not meant to be. I am fairly familiar with Louisiana cookery, but most of the dishes are wetter than I would like for a cocktail party where there will be little room for guests to sit and eat with proper silverware.
Yes, that's true, and I was also thinking of something like gumbo in shot glasses, but it's usually seafood-heavy.
Also, oyster shooters could be done, but again, need the fresh raw oysters, and plenty of shot glasses.
Maybe you could sear a rib eye or two and blacken it, then slice thinly, after it's cooled enough, and make cajun rib eye sliders, with remoulade on little buns? No silverware required.
re: Cheese Boy
The simplest in the world would be boil some shrimp in crab bowl, then chill and serve with a spicy red cocktail sauce (ie add a little cayenne and garlic or horse).
To the boil you might also add some lemons/squeezed, rough chop onion, cayenne pepper. Keep goinf and add slices of Sausage, Red Potaotoes, small corn on the cobs, artichoke hearts---and you're on your way to a stove top Shrimp Boil!!!