~ Remoulade Sauce: A Staple in the NOLA Kitchen ~
It is 99.9% impossible to visit New Orleans and not experience their remoulade sauces. Lots of people go to NOLA for Mardi Gras. Back in 1982, Joe and I decided to spend seven days there, which included New Years Eve and New Years Day -- if you like to travel, I highly recommend doing this. I tell everyone, "we did nothing but eat our way through the city's superb restaurants, bars, grilles and countryside dives". For our very first meal, we chose to dine at the elegant Galatoire's, where I encountered their signature appetizer: Creole shrimp remoulade.
Remoulade sauce is a refreshing condiment for the Summer season too!
A bit about Classic French, Cajun and Creole remoulade sauce: French remoulade (ray-muh-LAHD) is a creamy to yellowish-colored condiment-sauce, containing lemon- or vinegar-laced homemade mayonnaise, mustard, shallots, capers, gherkins, herbs and sometimes anchovies. Cajun remoulade, which is mayonnaise-based too, differs from the French original in that it has pink hues and a piquant flavor due to the addition of ketchup, cayenne pepper and/or paprika. <<<Creole remoulade, is a slightly-chunkier, reddish-hued oil-based condiment-sauce containing ketchup, finely-chopped vegetables (usually green onion, celery and parsley), stone-ground or Creole mustard, cayenne pepper, paprika, and, sometimes horseradish. In all cases, remoulade is served chilled to accompany or dress cold meats, poultry, fish or shellfish, and, it's great slathered on sandwiches too (like Nola's beloved Po' Boy). Occasionally, Creole remoulade will contain a small amount of mayonnaise to give it a slightly creamy texture.
Cajun? Creole? Somewhere in between?
Fact: Cajun = country-style. Creole = city-style.
Fiction: Cajun cuisine is spicier than Creole Cuisine.
A bit about Cajun and Creole cuisines: Cajun cooking is a simple, rustic, country-style of cooking born out of the necessity of peasants and represents a combination of French and Southen fare. Creole cooking is a more refined, sophisticated-style of city dwellers, born out of restaurant chefs accessing the best ingredients of French, Spanish and African cuisines.
Cajun cooks use copius amounts of inexpensive pork fat along with anything they can hunt, trap or harvest from the swamps and bayous. Creole cooks, who are supplied by the commerce of the ports, place emphasis on rich butter, cream and eggs. Cajun food tends to be one-pot stew-like meals prepared in a single cast-iron pot. Creole food is more elegant and requires two or three cooking vessels. Both cuisines rely heavily upon the "holy trinity" (diced onion, celery and green bell pepper) and rice, however, Cajun food is based on inexpensive additions and is quite plain looking, while Creole food is based on more exotic ingredients and is quite flamboyant.
When it comes to spice, they both use the same spices, in quantities determined by how spicy the food is supposed to be or they want it to be. What it all boils down to:
"Cajuns eat in the kitchen and Creoles eat in the dining room!" ~ Chef John D. Folse
Founded in 1905, Galatoire's Restaurant is the grand dame of New Orleans' old-line restaurants. It is a fine-dining, "coat and tie", "heels and hose" establishment. Currently under the fourth generation of family ownership, they maintain the rich tradition of serving authentic French Creole cuisine at an art form level. I'll admit, the place is bistro busy and loud, but once you are seated at your white-clothed table, the superb food, cocktails and service are the only things you'll notice.
Galatoire's most requested dish is their shrimp remoulade made with their signature "Louisiana red" Creole remoulade sauce -- a fiery, ketchup-y blend of grainy Creole mustard, horseradish, hot paprika, Worcestershire and vinegar all whisked together with some oil until emulsified. Once you've tasted theirs, no other will do. Luckily, they published their recipe, so we can make it at home.
The following is my version of Galatoire's published shrimp remoulade recipe. I use almost the same ingredients list, only in measurements that suit my family's palate. In Melanie's Kitchen, we like our vegetables (celery, scallions, onion and parsley) a little chunky, so I finely dice them. At Galatoire's, they mince their vegetables in a food processor. That choice remains yours!
3/4-1 cup finely diced celery
3/4-1 cup very thinly sliced green onions, white and light green part only (Note: Reserve dark green tops for garnishing as directed below.)*
1/2-3/4 cup finely diced yellow or sweet onion
1/2-3/4 cup finely diced curly parsley leaves, as few stems as possible
1 1/2 cups chili sauce
1/2 cup Creole mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2-3/4 cup vegetable oil
~ Step 2. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place all ingredients except for oil. Process until smooth and uniform in color, 25-30 seconds.
Note: Now is the time to taste and adjust your remoulade mixture for seasonings -- tweek 'em to your liking. There is no going back to do it after the next step.
~ Step 3. With the processor motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream, until the desired consistency is reached, stopping after 1/2 cup has been added to see if it is to your liking. Stop if it is.
~ Step 4. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the prepped vegetables. Refrigerate 1-2 hours, overnight, or up to 1 week. Serve chilled.
Because remoulade sauce is always served chilled w/cold fare, &, because Creole remoulade contains no mayo, it's a great condiment-sauce to keep on-hand during the Summer season:
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 1-cup measuring container; food processor; 1-quart food storage container w/tight-fitting lid
Cook's Note: You can find both of my recipes for ~ Mardi Gras Shrimp Remoulade a la Galatoires ~, and, ~ Louisiana's Famous Shrimp Po' Boy Sandwiches ~ in Categories 2, 11 or 14. Both are a perfect change-of-pace choice to make for or take to any picnic or gathering.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)