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Feb 14, 2012 06:13 AM

Mardis Gras dinner party

I'm throwing a dinner party for 10 for Mardis Gras next weekend, and I'm seeking some first course inspiration. Hors d'oeuvres will be crab and jalapeno dip, alongside some pickled veggies. The main will be jambalaya. Dessert will probably gateau de sirop. But I'm at a loss for a first course that fits the theme, isn't too too heavy and perhaps even a palate cleanser between heavy hors d'oeuvres and heavy main.

Oysters mignonette and salad?

Pan barbecued shrimp?


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  1. I'm doing a Mardi Gras dinner for friends next week too; jumbalaya will be the main course, served with dirty rice on the side in case anyone is worried about calories. I'm starting the festivities with a dish I found here, which is grits/polenta topped with shrimp and feta, it's Greek in origin but the person who posted it first had it at someone's house in New Orleans. Always gets rave reviews.

    I'm also making seafood gumbo before the main course, although I will probably leave the rice out of there too. It will be more of a soup course. These are old friends we haven't seen in awhile and I want food that can be ready to go without me hanging in the kitchen all night.

    1. Depending on how hot the jalapeno dip is---and I would not consider that traditional---I'd start with shrimp remoulade. It can be done in advance and you can decide if you want the "yellow/white" or "red". Plenty of recipes online

      2 Replies
      1. re: hazelhurst

        On further thought, you might think about pickled shrimp, too. Pretty basic marinade, as fiery or sedate as you please. Obviously done ahead of time, served cold. Some headcheese might be good, too.(Although one of my standbys for the chips course is to find a good headcheese and let it melt and use that for the dip.) A block of cream cheese with Pickapeppa sauce doused on it is another good snacky-cracky.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          The dip was actually inspired by Cochon's lunch menu yesterday! It's like your basic crab dip, but with an added kick.

          And thanks for all the suggestions! Just what was needed!

      2. Boil up some crawdads (crayfish/crawfish)!

        1. Crawfish mini pies with frisee salad
          Turtle soup
          Stuffed mirlitons
          Crab salad in cucumber cups

          1. You know, I had been contemplating alligator tidbits but decided to cheap out. But that would be fun.

            2 Replies
            1. re: coll

              I thought about suggesting turtle soup but it's a good bit of work and it sure ain't light fare. Mirlitons is a good idea if you can find some worth stuffing buit I haven't seen any.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                We are far enough south (and have a large Mexican/Caribbean community) that you can actually find mirleton in the grocery store. With a heavy start and heavy main, I'm actually making a roasted mirleton, red pepper salad. It's not traditional, for sure, but with traditional ingredients.