For the French, a well-made sauce is given utmost importance when preparing dishes. In fact, this cuisine has what’s called five “mother sauces” that serve as bases or “finishers.”1 A remoulade is one of the sauces you can find in French cuisine, and although it isn’t a “mother sauce,” its flavor is well-recognized and has even provided some inspiration for other sauces.
What Is Remoulade?
A remoulade (pronounced reh-moo-lahd2), according to Food Republic, usually combines eggs and oil to make a mayonnaise. Afterward, fresh and/or dried herbs and spices, anchovies, acidifiers like mustard and lemon juice, and finely chopped capers or pickles are blended in. In other parts of Europe, a remoulade can be paired with proteins like roast beef and fried fish, as well as vegetables like artichokes, raw celery roots or shredded carrots. You can also find brightly colored remoulade that contains curry powder or turmeric, or sweeter versions wherein sugar is added.
Although remoulade’s origins are French, most people in the U.S. are familiar with the New Orleans or Louisiana “Cajun” version, which has a pinker color3 and is spicier. What makes this remoulade different, is that it's enhanced with ingredients that give it heat and more flavor, such as onions, hot sauce and horseradish. Chopped hard-boiled eggs may also be added.4
How to Make Homemade Remoulade
If you’re interested in making traditional French remoulade, here’s an easy remoulade sauce recipe from the cookbook “French Classics Made Easy:”5
Classic Remoulade Sauce
Serving Size: 8-10 people
- 1 cup homemade mayonnaise
- 6 medium cornichons, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or homemade mustard
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh tarragon, chopped
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Refrigerate, with the surface covered in plastic wrap, until ready to serve.
This recipe makes 1 1/4 cups of sauce and serves 8 to 10 people.
Meanwhile, if you want your remoulade to have some heat, try making this Cajun-inspired remoulade from “The About.com Guide to Southern Cooking:”6
Cajun-Inspired Remoulade Sauce Recipe
Serving Size: 1 cup of sauce
- 1 cup homemade mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or homemade mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped sweet pickle
- 1 teaspoon chopped capers
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chopped chervil, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf tarragon, crumbled
- Dash of Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- Dash of ground white pepper
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients and blend well.
- Cover and refrigerate to chill thoroughly before serving.
This recipe makes 1 cup of sauce.
How to Use Remoulade in Recipes
Remoulade is often used to accompany delectable crab cakes.7 If you have homemade remoulade ready, make a batch of healthy crab cakes using this recipe from the book “The Rotation Diet:”8
Healthy Crab Cakes Recipe
Serving Size: 1 cup of sauce
- 8 ounces cooked crabmeat
- 1/2 organic onion, finely chopped
- 1 organic celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup organic red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/3 cup homemade mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- Heat coconut oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic until tender, for about five minutes. Let cool.
- In a bowl, mix together the crabmeat, basil, parsley, lemon juice, coconut flour, mayonnaise and salt.
- Add the cooled and sautéed vegetables and mix well.
- Divide the dough into eight to 10 portions and form each portion into a patty.
- Place the crab cakes on waxed paper, on a cookie sheet or in a flat container, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour to set.
- When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
- Brown each crab cake in the oil, for about three to five minutes each side. Serve warm.
This recipe makes 8 to 10 crab cakes.
The quality of crabmeat you buy may make a difference in the crab cakes’ flavor. Fresh crabmeat from steamed or boiled crabs is more ideal than less flavorful canned crabmeat. Bon Appétit suggests looking for fresh crabmeat in markets, where they’re often packaged in plastic containers and placed over ice.9 You can also use remoulade to coat shrimp. This tasty Chilled Shrimp With Remoulade recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine is an example:10
Chilled Shrimp With Remoulade Recipe
Cook Time: 15 minutes
For the shrimp:
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 lemons, cut in quarters
- 1 large clove garlic
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 to 1/2 pounds large (21 to 25 shrimps per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
- Tender leafy lettuce (such as bibb or Boston), cut into strips
- In a 6- to 8-quart pan, combine 1 gallon water with 1/4 cup of the salt, the cayenne, peppercorns, lemon, garlic, bay leaves and onion. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook until they’re pink and just barely opaque through the center, about three minutes. Pull the shrimp from the boil and put them in a large bowl.
- Cover with ice and then add 2 cups of the boil liquid to the iced shrimp. Soak for five minutes. Add the remaining salt. When the shrimp are well chilled, drain.
- Before serving, dip each shrimp in the remoulade sauce to coat and arrange on a bed of the lettuce.
When buying shrimp and other types of seafood, ensure that it’s wild-caught and responsibly harvested. If you don’t, you may be at risk for serious health problems. Over 90 percent of shrimp sold today comes from industrial shrimp farms, which are essentially concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on water, that operate in countries where regulations aren’t strictly implemented. For more tips in buying high-quality seafood, read this article “U.S. Seafood Consumption Is Up, but Many Are Still Making Unhealthy Purchasing Choices.”
On a final note, remember that the remoulade recipes above aren’t the only versions of this sauce you can make. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative — if you or your loved ones have certain preferences, keep these in mind the next time you make remoulade. Who knows, if you substitute some of the traditional ingredients, you may come up with a recipe that’s uniquely yours.11
Sources and References
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