Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mardi Gras in Milwaukee: Langostinos & Caramelized Onion & Parmesan Grits

One of the things I love about having a food blog is that we get to make excuses for celebrating all sorts of crazy holidays that we wouldn't normally observe.  One of these happens to be a particular favorite of mine -- Mardi Gras.  And one of my favorite recipes to celebrate Mardi Gras just happens to be the classic shrimp & grits, a low country dish that makes use of two southern classics, creamy grits and plentiful gulf shrimp.

According to the Houston Press, shrimp & grits "started out as a seasonal fisherman’s dish of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits in the Low Country where they were also known as “breakfast shrimp.” The simple seafood breakfast became an iconic Southern dish after Craig Claiborne wrote about it in the New York Times in 1985"

In an effort to be frugal, I decided that this year I was going to rely on pantry & freezer staples to make our Mardi Gras inspired meal. Although we didn't have shrimp, we were fortunate to have a bag of frozen Langostino tails on hand from Trader Joes. An affordable (and delicious) alternative to lobster, langostino tails are meat from squat lobster, a shellfish with a similar flavor and texture.  And I just knew they would be perfect for this dish.

I also decided that, rather than the classic andouille sausage that often appears in New Orleans' style shrimp & grits dishes, that we'd rely on locally produced applewood smoked bacon to provide a bit of smokiness to the final dish.

And off to the kitchen we went. 

In our version, creamy grits are embellished with a hefty dose of caramelized onions and plenty of Wisconsin Parmesan cheese & enrobed in a delicious cream sauce made with langostino tails, local applewood smoked bacon, celery, onions, and deliciously decadent Crystal Ball Creamery cream.

The results, if I do say so myself, were positively divine.  Sweet and creamy, slightly spicy and full of great texture, this dish made impeccable use of simple quality ingredients.  The grits were particularly heavenly -- with the sugary sweet onions balancing perfectly with the flavor of the salty parmesan.

The dish also got reviews from Peef, who declared that I could make it for him once a week for the rest of his life and he'd never grow tired of it.

So, pour yourself a nice big Hurricane and whip up up a batch of Langostino Tails & Grits for your own Shrove Tuesday celebration.  What do you have to lose?

Langostino Tails with Caramelized Onion & Parmesan Grits

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Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.


  1. I'd much rather have your more frugal Mardi Gras dish than spend exuberant amounts of money on some more expensive and less delicious one. This looks and sounds amazing!

  2. Oh my. I second Peef's review. No one does New Orleans - Wisconsin fusion better than Burp!

  3. Yum, this sounds like a perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras

  4. That just look like the perfect dish for any celebration!!

  5. Bloggers also have an excuse to make green cake for St. Patrick's Day. Just sayin'.

    You had me at the caramelized onions. Sweet and creamy and slightly spicy, you say? I think you made this just for me...

  6. Oh I think your version sounds amazing!

  7. This looks seriously delicious you guys!

  8. Nice. I just love when on hand ingredients make an average foodie day awesome!!!

  9. Fabulous!Hoping for this tonight :(

  10. What an inspired substitution--looks delicious!


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