weekender edition
mardi gras eats: shrimp remoulade

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.  

My favorite stops outside of the Big Easy are for 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.  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.  Y'all.  Hands down.  These are a few of my favorite things.  And I MISS THE HECK OUT OF THEM.

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.

Deveining shrimp.
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
  • boiled shrimp--(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)
  • Salt
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 information about remoulade, including traditional recipes, read

Also find references here, and here.

*This is a John Besh recipe, adapted from his gorgeous, My New Orleans: The CookbookAndrews McMeel Publishing

Did you happen to see yesterday's post? We got our fingers delightfully messy with buttery, garlic-y, herbal-ly, lemon-y, heavenly Creole Barbecue Shrimp (which, incidently, has neither barbecue sauce, nor is is grilled on the barbie, but you know how those Cajuns are....). Man, we LOVE Mardi Gras season!


  1. What gorgeous photos! Did you get a new camera?

    1. Thanks, sista! No new camera--just some nice natural light and...SHRIMP. Shrimp is beeeeeeuuutiful in my world! lol

  2. OMG! This looks SO good. This is one of my favorite dishes to make in the summer. I can't wait to try your recipe:) Your food photography is outstanding! Hope all is well with you.

    aka Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee (I've neglected my food blog lately and now I'm posting more on my garden blog:)

    1. Thank you, Steph! Great to see you! This is one of my favorites, too, and I often set out in late afternoon making it for dinner, but end up eating it all before Tom gets home and making something else for him, pretending to have 'lost my appetite'.

      It's a great time to concentrate on gardening. Just around the corner we'll be booming!


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