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A Mardi Gras Menu for Eight

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Let the good times roll with this Crescent City-inspired supper featuring Creole seafood gumbo and a rich chocolate-bourbon torte.

Celebrate Mardi Gras in true New Orleans fashion, with our rich, seafood-studded gumbo, bite-size salmon cakes and a decadent chocolate torte spiked with bourbon. Several of the dishes taste even better when made a few days ahead, making this menu easy to pull off on a Tuesday night.

Menu Timeline

Up to three days ahead (and at least one day ahead):

  • Make the gumbo, but do not add the crabmeat, shrimp, oysters, scallions or rice. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate, covered.
  • Make the giardiniera relish for the salmon cakes.

One day ahead:

  • Bake the chocolate cake. Cool to room temperature and wrap lightly in plastic until ready to serve.
  • Make the rémoulade for the salmon cakes. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Make the limeade-tea mixture and refrigerate (don’t add the bourbon until you’re ready to seve).

1 hour before dinner

  • Make the salmon-cake mixture and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Cook the rice for the gumbo.
  • Bring the giardiniera relish and rémoulade to room temperature.

20 minutes before dinner:

  • Reheat the gumbo gently over low heat.
  • Mix and serve the cocktails.
  • Fry the salmon cakes and serve with the giardiniera relish and rémoulade.
  • Add the seafood and scallions to the gumbo. Serve the gumbo over the rice.

Just before dessert:

  • Dust the chocolate cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen okra
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 8 scallions
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives
  • 1 small bunch fresh tarragon
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 limes

Seafood, Eggs & Dairy

  • 1 lb. salmon fillets (preferably wild)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh or pasteurized lump crabmeat, or 4 to 6 gumbo crabs (about 1 lb. total; see tip in gumbo recipe)
  • 1-1/2 lb. medium shrimp (41 to 50 or 51 to 60 per lb.), or 2 lb. head-on shrimp
  • 1 cup fresh shucked oysters
  • 8 large eggs (one yolk will be used raw; look for pasteurized eggs, if available)
  • 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Other Groceries

  • 11 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 can (6 oz.) frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1-3/4 cups bourbon
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups Italian giardiniera pickle
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 6 regular-size tea bags (about 1/2 oz. total)

Pantry Staples

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. country-style (grainy, but not whole-grain) Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. white-wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Louisiana-style hot sauce, preferably Crystal brand
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • black peppercorns

The Menu

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