As the vibrant Mardi Gras season approaches, bringing joy, music, and colorful parades, it also marks the beginning of the Lenten Fish Fry season. These two celebrations share a rich tapestry of traditions, and what better way to commemorate them than by exploring the delicious world of Cajun and Mardi Gras-inspired cuisine? In this blog post, we’ll share some valuable tips for hosting the perfect Fish Fry or cooking up authentic Mardi Gras dishes. Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!
Fish Fry Season
Seafood Selection is Key
Opt for mild and flaky white fish varieties like cod, haddock, or swai. Their delicate texture allows them to absorb flavors and maintain moisture during frying. Choose fresh fish to ensure the best taste and texture. Look for clear eyes, vibrant skin, and a mild ocean smell. If using frozen fish, thaw it thoroughly before frying.
- Wild Caught Cod Loin Skin Off – Frozen – 10 lb case (available in 5, 6, 7, and 8 oz portions) (Item #48329, 48330, 48331 & 48332)
- Swai – Skin Off – Frozen – 15 lb case (available in 5,7, and 9 oz portions) (Item #48307, #48308 & #22950)
Want to get a little more out of the box? Include oyster or shrimp po boys for a fish fry twist that your patrons never knew they needed!
- Mariblu Shrimp – Available in peeled, deveined, tail on and tail off, in a wide variety of sizes. Search Mariblu to see all our offerings.
- Shucked Oysters – wild caught in Chesapeake Bay – Gallon (item #48218)
Perfectly Battered and Breaded Seafood
For a classic fish fry batter, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and spices. Experiment with adding herbs like parsley or dill for an extra flavor boost. For a light and crispy texture, consider using a beer batter. The carbonation in beer creates a bubbly, airy batter. Mix beer with flour, salt, and spices for a delicious coating. Or, try a tempura-style batter for an incredibly light and crispy result. Use a mixture of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and ice-cold water. Dip the fish in the batter just before frying.
The key to the perfect fry is all in the temperature and the timing. Maintain the right oil temperature. The ideal range is around 350-375°F (175-190°C). Too hot, and the fish may burn; too cool, and it can absorb too much oil. Fry the fish in small batches to avoid overcrowding. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Typically, it takes 3-5 minutes per side for a golden-brown finish. And remember, serve the fried fish immediately for the best taste and texture!
Or, without the added step of creating your own batter, achieve the perfect crispy texture with our Cod Battered and Oyster Breaded Frozen options. These products make the frying process a breeze, allowing you to focus on creating a memorable dining experience.
- Battered Cod – Dipped in a tasty beer batter coating made with real Corona beer – 2-3 oz portions – 10 lb case – (Item #22033)
- Breaded Oysters – 5/2 lb cases (Item #48441)
Let’s Take it Beyond the Ordinary
Citrus Zest in the Batter: Add a burst of freshness to your batter by incorporating citrus zest, such as lemon or orange. The citrusy notes cut through the richness of the fried fish, providing a vibrant and unexpected flavor.
Dill Pickle Juice Marinade: Before coating the fish in batter, marinate it in dill pickle juice for an hour. The acidity and subtle dill flavor will enhance the taste of the fish and add a unique twist to the traditional fish fry.
Beer and Mustard Dip: Prepare a tangy dip by combining beer and Zatarain’s Creole Mustard. This unique dipping sauce complements the fried fish with a zesty and slightly spicy flavor.
- Zatarain’s Creole Mustard – It is a coarse, stone ground mustard with a uniquely vibrant flavor (Item #95110)
Coconut and Curry Infusion: Incorporate tropical flavors by adding shredded coconut and curry powder to your batter. This unexpected combination transports your fish fry to a new level of exotic deliciousness.
Mardi Gras Menu Magic
Gumbo is a hearty and flavorful stew that originated in Louisiana, particularly among the Creole and Cajun communities. It is a staple of Southern cuisine, known for its rich, complex flavors and diverse mix of ingredients. Gumbo is often considered a symbol of Louisiana’s culinary heritage and cultural diversity.
Gumbo can include a variety of proteins, such as andouille sausage, crawfish, catfish, shrimp, oysters and/or chicken. The combination of meats and seafood contributes to the dish’s depth of flavor. Similar to the French mirepoix, the holy trinity is a key flavor base in gumbo, consisting of onions, bell peppers, and celery. This aromatic trio forms the foundation of many Cajun and Creole dishes.
Add a twist to your gumbo by incorporating smoked okra and fire-roasted tomatoes. The smokiness from the okra and the depth of flavor from the tomatoes elevate the dish, creating a unique and delicious variation.
- Louisiana Crawfish Tail Meat – Frozen – (Item #48371)
- Harvest Select Catfish – Premium farm-raised frozen catfish from North Carolina (Item #48317)
- Andouille Sausage – 12 lb case – (Item #00470)
- Fresh Okra – (Item #20919)
This one-pot wonder is a celebration of diverse ingredients and bold spices, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. Jambalaya is known for its unique combination of meats, seafood, vegetables, and rice, resulting in a dish that captures the essence of Louisiana’s cultural melting pot.
Similar to gumbo, jambalaya features a mix of proteins, and the holy trinity. The rice used in Jambalaya is typically 100% Louisiana Popcorn Long Grain Rice. The long-grain rice absorbs the flavorful broth and complements the variety of ingredients. Serve it hot, straight from the pot, for a true taste of Louisiana’s culinary heritage.
As you embark on a culinary journey inspired by the festive spirit of Mardi Gras and the Lenten Fish Fry season, let the traditions and flavors guide your menu. What Chefs Want offers a range of premium products to elevate your dishes and create an unforgettable experience for your guests. Celebrate with authenticity, savor every bite, and make this season a true feast for the senses!
- 100% Louisiana Popcorn Long Grain Rice – 20 lb bag – 98338
Cajun Grits with Tasso
Cajun Grits with Tasso is a Southern classic that combines the creamy goodness of grits with the smoky, flavorful kick of Tasso ham. Tasso, a highly seasoned and smoked pork, enhances the traditional grits, a staple in Southern cooking.
Enjoy Cajun Grits with Tasso as a standalone dish for a comforting and filling meal or as a flavorful side alongside blackened seafood, chicken or other cajun-inspired dish.
Add a kick to this dish by incorporating diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce. The spiciness complements the smokiness of the Tasso, creating a dynamic and flavorful bowl.
- Comeaux’s Cajun Hickory Smoked Tasso – (Item #96572)
- Weisenberger Yellow Grits – Stone ground old fashioned grits (Item #92217)
* Some featured items may not be available in all regions. Please contact your customer advocate for substitutions or new menu ideas.