While February weighs in as the shortest month on the calendar, it sure knows how to pack a party punch. There’s the Super Bowl. There’s Valentine’s Day. And then there’s the party to end all parties: Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras falls on February 13th this year, and since the celebration is synonymous with New Orleans, it’s a perfect opportunity to feature Louisiana seafood favorites at your Bay Area fish market.
Nothing says the Big Easy like barbequed shrimp, seafood gumbo or crab cakes. Check out our recipes below for tried and true options with minimum hassle. And whether you choose to offer seafood lovers prepared platters in the Louisiana tradition, or the raw fixings to take home, make sure you are stocking the freshest, most ethically sourced fish the Bay Area has to offer. Pucci Foods prides itself on supplying local seafood markets with green, sustainable products with minimum handling. Now that’s something everyone can celebrate.
Once you settle on a few Mardi Gras features or specials, make sure to draw your customers’ eyes to those specials with fun decorations like beads and masks, or colorful signs. You can’t go wrong with the official colors of the holiday: purple, green and gold. Consider printing up a recipe or two for people to either snap a picture of with their phones, or have extra copies on hand for folks to take home with their purchases.
In New Orleans, barbecued shrimp often means sautéed shrimp in Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce. The biggest trick to making this taste authentic is to not hold back on the butter. And don’t overcook the shrimp or they’ll become tough and hard to peel.
- 16 jumbo shrimp (12 per pound, about 1 1/2 pounds), with heads, unpeeled
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- French bread as accompaniment
In a large skillet, combine shrimp, Worcestershire, lemon juice, black peppers, Creole seasoning, and garlic. Cook over moderately high heat until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat and stir in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring constantly and adding more only when butter is melted. Remove skillet from heat. Place shrimp in a bowl and pour sauce over top. Serve with French bread for dipping.
(Adapted from https://www.mrbsbistro.com/recipes_shrimp.php )
New Orleans Style Seafood Gumbo
- 1/4 cup medium roux
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3 cups okra, chopped
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 quarts water
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 6 to 8 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 pounds shrimp
- 1 cup oysters
- 1 cup crab meat
- 6 crab claws
- hot cooked rice
- Add shrimp to roux and cook for a few minutes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook okra and onions in hot oil. When the okra is just becoming tender, add tomatoes and garlic. Cook a few minutes longer, then add water, salt, and pepper.
- Combine shrimp and roux mixture with okra mixture; simmer for about 10 minutes. Add oysters, crab meat, and crab claws; simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add parsley and green onions and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve with rice.
(Adapted from https://www.thespruce.com/seafood-gumbo-recipe-3057282 )
Cajun Crab Cakes
- 32 ounces claw crabmeat
- 2 cups plain bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (Store mix, or recipe below)
- 3 eggs
- 1 red onion, minced
- Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees
- Flake the crabmeat into a large bowl and add the bread crumbs, mustard, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, eggs and onion. Mix well but don’t overwork. Divide the mixture into 16 balls and flatten slightly to form the cakes.
- Pour 1/2-inch of vegetable oil into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high. When oil is hot, fry the cakes in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve.