Next Tuesday is no ordinary Tuesday. It marks the holiday of Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), also known as Shrove Tuesday and Carnival. The day before the beginning of Lent was officially added to the Catholic calendar in 1582 by Pope Gregory XII. The good times have been rolling ever since.
Mardi Gras is a day of excess. Diets are broken. Jazz is trumpeted through the streets. Costumes are worn. In New Orleans the day is the highlight of the year. The Louisiana-based company Zatarain’s (manufacturer of my favorite Creole seasoning) is working on a petition to ask Congress to make Mardi Gras a national holiday. This campaign may just work: ever since Hurricane Katrina many Americans have felt a special kinship Louisiana and its residents.
I obtained this recipe from the helpful people at Zatarain’s. The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold so I made the recipe more festive by using baby purple and gold potatoes. I threw in a bit of the tops of the scallions to give the salad a touch of green. The salad is refreshing and not too heavy, with a little zing; the Creole mustard has extra vinegar so there’s no need to add that to the mixture.
3 pounds baby potatoes (you may use red if you don’t have purple and gold)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Creole mustard (Zatarain’s makes this, of course!)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning (again from Zatarain’s; I used a bit more because I love this seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled bacon (optional but delicious)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until they are fork tender but not soggy. Drain and quarter them.
In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, Creole seasoning, and sugar. Add the warm potatoes, and toss to coat them with the dressing. Add the tomatoes, bacon (if desired), and scallions, and toss lightly.
Cover the salad, and refrigerate it for at least to hours to let the flavors blend. Serves 12.