going back to new orleans: shrimp remoulade

freestyle friday
notes from maggie's farm

Day Three of our getaway finds us on our way back home, but not before ferreting out a creole favorite--shrimp remoulade.  Now, just to remember which location serves the best?  We might have to try a few!  Munch along with us with our favorite homemade preparation, from earlier this year, of this classic, below.

Oh, how I love creole food.
But then, this comes as no surprise, does it?  I know I've sung the tune, in all it's variations, many times.  Mardi Gras season doesn't help, of course.  It just reminds me of all the foods I miss so much!  Those things I crave most often fall along the lines of seafood gumbo from The Gumbo Shop, barbecue Shrimp from Crazy Johnnie's in Metarie, turtle soup from Mandina's , softshell crab from Casamento's and anydarnedthing on the menu at Mr. B's Bistro. Crawfish bisque from Don's in Baton Rouge, stuffed artichokes from the Italian Festival in Independence, boudin balls from Lafayette, andouille from Bailey's in Laplace, french bread from Wayne's Bakery, and a dozen or two oysters on the half shell for brunch at The Chimes just off the beautiful LSU campus...these are always on the list for the best stops outside of the city. And an oyster poboy from just about anywhere in the state.  Oh I could just go on and on...and it appears as if I have.  

Deveining shrimp.
But more and more, the favorites are trickling on over to the Austin area, especially with the migration of some really fine cooks post-Hurrican Katrina.  Nowadays, a hankering for one of my favorites, whether with the help of a local fishmonger and my own kitchen, or a visit to the newest cajun food trailer or popular brick-and-mortar spots, can be indulged.

Unfortunately, the treat that I've left out of the top list, intentionally, is the one that the Austin Cajun/Creole food scene has left out almost completely,  Shrimp Remoulade, the ubiquitous (in New Orleans) cold appetizer salad, based upon the french classic remoulade sauce, is the creole apple of my eye and I was lucky enough to find one on every corner when I lived 'down south'.  Yet, a recent review of the spots I  hadn't yet hit in the area revealed an almost across the board dis of the best appetizer/salad in the state of Louisiana.  It's just not to be found.  And that is a crying shame.

One member of the creole holy trinity of flavor.
So, let's remedy that.  I'm here to tell you, if you haven't had the pleasure, make yourself one of these plates of zingy-shrimpy delight.  It'll wipe the last tired, limp, expensive shrimp cocktail you had right out of your memory.  I've included links to popular recipes, because there are several versions out there, and even two different ones in New Orleans, alone.  With a few modifications, we've used John Besh's remoulade dressing, below, over our own reliable recipe for medium-sized boiled shrimp, and the results are the stuff of which our little creole dreams are made.

shrimp remoulade
(Find our reliable recipe for boiled shrimp by following the link, above. John Besh shrimp boil ingredients can be found at Chef John Besh.)
sliced scallions
crisp salad greens, torn
optional garnish
boiled egg wedges
olives, black or green
steamed edamame in the shell
tomato wedges, in season
1 cup mayonnaise (we used homemade mayo, but Hellmann's or any favorite will do)
¼ cup Dijon mustard (we used creole mustard, a little zestier, and reduced the horseradish, below)
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (we used 1T)
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced (we used a large clove, see below)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (we used sherry vinegar)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (we used 1T, we love lemon juice!)
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce)
½ teaspoon sweet paprika (we omitted)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (we used 1/2 t, cause we love it.)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder (we omitted, and used a large clove, above)
We added:  1 hardboiled egg yolk, crumbled, 2T minced celery, 2 T sliced scallions (in addition to the scallions we used to top the salad), 1t minced capers, 1T minced cornichons (or gherkins)

1. For the boiled shrimp, put the salt, sweet paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, lemon juice, bay leaves, onions, garlic, thyme, peppercorns, and coriander into a large pot. Add 1 gallon cold water and boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to moderate, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let the shrimp finish cooking of the heat, until they are just cooked through, 5-7 minutes more.  (We use this method for boiled shrimp and find it simpler, and the resulting shrimp more tender than any way we've tried before.  Of course, John Besh certainly knows a thing or two more than myself, so try the method that seems most trustworthy, and convenient, to you.)
2. Drain the shrimp and plunge them into a large bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking. Drain the shrimp once they are cool. Reserve for up to a day or two in the refrigerator. About 2 hours before serving, peel the shrimp (we like to leave the tails attached, to help them keep their pretty curved shape) and devein them.
3. For the remoulade sauce, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, parsley, shallots, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce, sweet paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and salt (and any remaining ingredients) in a large bowl and stir well. Set aside.
4. Toss the shrimp in the remoulade sauce. Cover the bowl and let the shrimp marinade in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Serve the shrimp with the greens. (We serve on chilled salad plates, with the garnishes above.)

For more about remoulade, including traditional recipes, read
Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans
Shrimp Remoulade: Red, Times-Picayune
White Remoulade in the style of Chez Helene, Times-Picayune
Ritz Carlton Shrimp Remoulade, Fox 8 News, New Orleans
Classic French Remoulade, Easy French Food
Also find references here, and here.

John Besh recipe from his cookbook, From My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh / Andrews McMeel Publishing

And be sure to join us this weekend, cause we're getting our hands buttery, garlic-y, herbally, lemony-dripping good with the infamous Barbecue Shrimp (which, incidently, has neither barbecue sauce, nor is is grilled on the barbie, but you know how those Cajun's are....). 


  1. I like your shrimp recipe the best. I hope John Besh doesn't get his feelings hurt by me saying that. But his are cooked way too long.

  2. WOW! That looks so good I think I just licked my computer screen:) I made shrimp remoulade for my husband when we first got married. I pretty much told him, " YOU GOTTA TRY THIS!" Now it is one of his favorite dishes.

    PS anydarnedthing on the menu at Mr. B's Bistro - I agree!

    PSS I'm loving your Mardi Gras posts.

  3. Steph: I'm enjoying them, too! I have scads of seafood I'm cooking over the next few days and if I can't be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, this is def the next best thing! Thanks so much for sharing my enthusiasm.
    Tom: Thanks for the vote of confidence. You know I would never want an undercooked fish, but an overcooked one is just as bad (rubbery, tough, and devoid of flavor). I imagine when you're cooking gallons at a time it's different, but for a small serving, I like a shorter time.

  4. Can't wait to try it myself.

    1. hi there!
      I can't believe I missed your comment, here. Please forgive me! I happened to be looking over some of my own recipes for submissions to an upcoming cookbook, and I found your kind message. THANK YOU!


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