Indulge New Orleans style for Fat Tuesday
Mardi Gras marks the culmination of the Carnival season — the last big hurrah before the Lenten season begins. Depending on where you are in the world and who you're celebrating with, the Carnival season starts at different times, but it always ends with Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday.
Traditionally, Fat Tuesday is the last feast before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season for most Catholic religions. For those who observe, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter typically involves fasting or abstaining from certain foods, so Fat Tuesday is the last chance for a while to enjoy rich food and revelry.
In America, Mardi Gras celebrations are much more cultural than religious. Mardi Gras is famously celebrated every year in New Orleans, where people go for great food, great drinks and a great time. Parade-goers wear bright costumes, masks and, of course, those classic beads. Even though we don’t have a world-class parade here in New Brunswick, we can still enjoy some of the Mardi Gras festivities.
The Muffuletta is a classic New Orleans sandwich, that was created by Italian immigrants, and uses fresh bread, a pickled vegetable, olive salad and cold cuts. We’ve made it smaller so that you and your friends can enjoy mini muffulettas while sipping on a New Orleans classic, the Ramos gin fizz. This cocktail is certainly sweet, but Mardi Gras warrants a little indulgence.
Mini Muffuletta recipe
6 mini sesame seed buns
1 cup muffuletta sandwich spread
6 slices mozzarella cheese
6 slices provolone
6 slices ham
6 slices Genoa salami
Slice each bun in half, then spread each half with a heaping tablespoon of the muffuletta sandwich spread. If you can’t find it pre-made at the grocery store, use a mixture of chopped olives and pickled vegetables with plenty of oil and vinegar.
On the bottom bun, place a slice of salami, ham, mozzarella, provolone and then the top bun. Repeat with all 6 sandwiches, making sure to press down on the top of each one.
If you have time, wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap, press down, and refrigerate overnight. This step helps the olive salad soak into the bread.
Ramos gin fizz recipe
Makes 1 drink
2 oz gin
3 drops orange blossom water (or a squeeze of fresh orange juice)
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon half and half
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz seltzer
Garnish: Orange wheels, lemon and lime slices, maraschino cherries
Combine all ingredients, except for the ice cubes and seltzer, in a cocktail shaker and shake for 30 seconds. Add the ice, then shake for another 30 seconds. Strain mixture into an 8 oz. glass. Pour seltzer into cocktail shaker, swirl it around and gently pour over the top of the cocktail, making sure you preserve the fizz. Garnish to your taste and enjoy.