Memorial Day and Shrimp Etouffee

 

We had a somewhat soggy Memorial Day but that did not dim our fun any.

Luckily I had planned a meal that did not require the grill. Growing up in southern Mississippi, on the Louisiana border,  my tastes tend toward the spicy and flavorful blend of seasonings that defines the region.   It has been awhile since I have done some Cajun cooking and I had a yen for etouffee.

Etouffee is a kind of gravy combining spices with celery, bell peppers and onions.  This gravy adds so much flavor to the shrimp.  It is really good served over rice with some scallions on top.  I used this recipe and it was outstanding.   Serve it with a tossed salad, maybe a little fruit salad as well and to me, it is the taste of home.

 

Chef John (creator of the recipe) says he used frozen shrimp and it was very tasty.  I used previously frozen shrimp from Whole Foods.  They were really delicious, and also came peeled and de-veined which was a bonus.

Back when my mother used to make etouffee we used crawfish, which were plentiful in that area.  Crawfish are the poor relation of shrimp; they are a little chewier, but they do hold onto the sauce more tenaciously.  Shrimp works just as well.

No one seemed to miss the burgers.

Naturally, the red, white and blue decor had to come out.   Have you noticed how useful red napkins are?  I plan to go out this week and buy some more.  Between the patriotic holidays, Christmas and Valentine’s Day they are on a steady rotation.  The blue tablecloth is from Ikea and it is so easy to care for.  It comes out of the dryer wrinkle free.

I bought those funny little patriotic characters over 15 years ago at an antique mall.  They add their own kind of spice to the table.

And now summer is officially underway!  Unfortunately we have another week of rain to look forward to.

Tortellini Salad for Memorial Day Picnic


Everyday it seems that I find more and more convenience products that make life easier.  One of my latest finds is the Dellalo muffaletta spread from their Bruschetta collection.


I went to college in Louisiana and as we all know you cannot beat the food in that region. I fell in love with muffalettas, a sandwich full of salami and ham, cheese, and olive salad (and probably many other ingredients).  They are so full of flavor, largely due to the olive salad which is a key ingredient. 

It’s hard to find a decent muffaletta outside of southern Louisiana.  I’ve even tried making them.  But making the olive salad is labor intensive so I was so happy to find this in the refrigerated aisle.  I no longer eat like I did in college #the good ol’ days, but I do still love food with lots of flavor.



The olive salad is a great addition to tortellinis.  I buy the Buitoni chicken and prosciutto tortellini, but the cheese ones are a good vegetarian alternative.  After cooking the tortellini and draining it, add the mufffaletta spread.  I add additional garlic, about 2 cloves, and some salt and pepper.
If I really want to go all out,  add some diced green pepper, sliced mushrooms, diced celery, halved cherry tomatoes.  It’s one of those dishes where you add the ingredients that you like.
To finish dress with a little olive oil and vinegar dressing, a half cup of olive oil to a fourth cup of vinegar.  You can add a tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning if you like.
Most of these ingredients I have on hand so all I have to do is get a couple of packages of tortellinis and a couple of containers of the muffaletta spread and I can make a quick salad to take to

 my Memorial Day picnic.

Do you have some go-to recipes for picnics and other summer potlucks?

This is not a sponsored post.  I like to share products I find worthy.