Care to accessorize my meal?
I want to have friends over for a mid-week meal. Something casual, yet it will be acknowledging a birthday. The guests won’t know it’s a birthday because we don’t want any gifts. Anyway, I am thinking a sort of jambalaya without the sausage but with chicken and shrimp. Some good crusty bread, a nice green salad and rice, of course. A flourless chocolate cake for dessert. Do we need a starter? What veg or side dish would you make?Maybe a Txakoli and a Shiraz for wine?
Since it's a working night I want to keep it fairly simple. Any thoughts???
Jambalaya incorporates rice as one of its components. Are you serving additional rice separately? Growing up we normally had green salad and French bread as accompaniments for jambalaya.
My first thought for an appetizer would be marinated blue crab claws. Chef John Folse's recipe is good. Emeril has one, too, but it's more complicated. I have a hard time finding the blue crab claws here, so have been known to use the same marinade on larger crab claws.
If you want something easier, I go with monavano's suggestion for: olives, Marconas, grissini, etc.
It's not really jambalaya but more of a stew/casserole with rice on the side. I will keep some aside for one guest that is allergic to seafood and another that isn't crazy about shrimp. They will have the chicken and vegetable version.
I will be sure to check out the crab recipe too.
Some wonderful ideas. Thank you!
I love your menu.. You've indicated you didn't want sausage so I wouldn't think you'd want boudin balls.
I don't think you need a starter; you could make the salad your first course and serve it with some sort of savory beignet which would be easy to whip up. But if you feel like you need a appetizer, why not consider cornmeal crusted okra? If you can't find fresh okra, you can find whole frozen. Just thaw & well drained works; season & dust in flour, dip in egg wash and roll in yellow cornmeal. Deep fry until crisp & serve with a remoulade sauce.
Of course, beignet is a fried doughnut which is typically sweet but for a savory version, which would be great as a snack or an accompaniment to a soup or salad, you could do Gruyere & onion, seafood, i.e. crawfish, shrimp, oyster, crab, etc., or perhaps an herb beignet. So many variations and flavor combinations; the key is serving them hot and with a cold salad it would be a good appetizer or salad course
I would buy a few wonderful items to put out for my guests to nosh on while I prepped dinner.
Perhaps a platter of Manchego cheese, a mix of olives, marcona almonds. lavash or grissini, and some type of charcuterie.
What's nice about all of these items is that you can put away the leftovers and finish them up over the next few days. Hopefully, you have a nice "gourmet" market nearby!
This is paraphrasing great advise from The Barefoot Contessa; buy the starters so your guests can relax, and so can you!
I think it's a great menu for what you have planned - no veggie needed and besides, where would they put it? If I made anything maybe some braised collard greens w/ bits of guanciale or bacon. But I think the salad fills the veggie bill nicely.
You may want a starter, to give your guests something to munch on while you finish things up in the kitchen. My first thought was boudin balls, but that is probably too much work for this gathering. What about some good pimento cheese (in keeping with the southern/NOLA theme) with crackers and vegetables?
I concur with lynnlato...your menu sounds satisfying and tasty. Also, the first thing I thought of for a starter is the ubiquitous Pimento Cheese. When I was cooking through Bon Appetit Y'All by Virginia Willis one of her recipes that brought smiles to my family was her pimento cheese... we had never had it. I think you can get an idea of what it involves even though I didn't give many measurements in my report:
Bon appetit, y'all!
Pimento cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes - yes please! And who doesn't love stuffed celery? I've been on a jicama kick lately and so I'd toss in some jicama sticks for dipping.
I used to eat pimento cheese "up north" prepared by a local Italian deli. I always enjoyed it, but then I moved to NC 14 yrs ago and experienced real pimento cheese spread and well, its just better and there no cream cheese. :-)
Gio, you may be interested in this recipe for pimento cheese from a couple of ex-pat NC boys who sell their biscuits and pimento cheese at an Oregon farmers market.
Pine State Pimento Cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
6 to 8 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 to 3 whole roasted red peppers (fresh or canned)
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
12 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
HEAT sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add fresh thyme and simmer 2-3 minutes. Don't overcook.
PLACE goat cheese, butter, red peppers and roasted garlic in food processor and pulse until blended. With
food processor on medium speed, slowly drizzle in thyme-infused oil until well blended. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
COARSELY GRATE cheddar over the top. Combine using a potato masher. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate spread until thickened.
Here is a link to their website for the restaurant they opened in Portland:
Pimiento cheese is pretty much a southern thing. Traditionally it is grated cheddar cheese (yellow, not white), chopped canned pimiento, mayonnaise and any of the following desired seasonings: celery salt, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. These days people also add things like chopped cooked bacon, chopped celery, chopped sweet or green onion, various herbs, etc. I have a friend who adds grated pepper jack cheese to hers. It's typically used as a sandwich filling and for stuffing celery sticks.
In the south you can also purchase it from the dairy case in the grocery stores. The store-bought versions are invariably sweeter than the homemade versions I grew up eating. Many people think they use Miracle Whip in the commercially prepared brands.