Whenever my husband and I get back from a trip to New Orleans, we're always inspired to try to recreate some of the many amazing flavors we've experienced. (Of course, we're also desperately trying to take our minds off of the fact that we're back in dreary, deadly Baltimore ...but that blog has already been done: baltimorecrime.blogspot.com)
We had a hankering for shrimp remoulade, which neither one of us had ever made before. Don't let the complex taste of this rich, tangy sauce fool you - this is one easy dish to make. If you can mix a bunch of ingredients together until everything tastes right, you can make this. And holy crap! Is it good. Eye rolling, tummy-rubbing, fight-over-the-last-bite good.
I adapted the recipe from a bunch of different ones I read online; the bulk of it comes from nolacuisine.com. Some people like to omit the mayo in favor of vegetable oil, but I am firmly not in that camp. I like the creamy thickness and pretty rosy orange color the mayo gives the sauce; plus, I think it balances the flavors better than the oil alone.
Shrimp Remoulade (enough to coat 18-20 large shrimp)
serves 4 ordinary or 2 very piggish people (ahem)
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (or more if you love garlic as much as I do)
2 tbsp Creole mustard (if you can't find Creole mustard, you could make your own, or substitute a whole grain dijon)
2 tbsp paprika
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (in hindsight, I'd use a tad less than this)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2- 2 tbsp ketchup
1 1/2- 2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp prepared horseradish, depending on how much zip you like
2 tsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1/2 tsp cayenne, or more to taste
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
one glug of extra virgin olive oil
2 "blops" of mayonnaise
a couple of green onions, thinly sliced
2 (ish) tbsb Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1-2 plum tomatoes (optional)
Mix all but the last five ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Drizzle in a glug of olive oil. Add the mayo and blend until the whole mixture emulsifies. It should be thick - you want it to cling to your shrimp, after all. Adjust the seasonings according to your tastebuds and refrigerate - overnight is best, but a few hours is the minimum to let all those flavors marry.
Next up: the shrimp. I bought 18 large, with the shell and tail on. That's important to keep them from drying out and curling up when you cook them. For the boil, I just used Whole Foods brand shrimp boil seasoning (a shocking shortcut!) but you can use whatever you like. Bring the water to a roiling boil with your preferred seasoning and let that go for about 20 minutes. Then, take the pot off of the heat and put your shrimp in for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes, until they're white all the way through. Get those boys out immediately and dunk them into an ice water bath until they're cool. Now you can peel them, but leave those tails on!
You're ready to mix your shrimp with that beautiful remoulade sauce. To plate up your masterpiece, arrange the shrimp on a bed of chopped lettuce, and top with the spring onions and parsley. I like to throw some quartered plum tomatoes on the platter for color - they also taste mighty fine with the sauce. If you like, drizzle any remaining sauce over top of the whole thing. Get out of the way, people, because there will likely be a stampede.
But what's the 4th of July without corn on the cob?
We did this in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and it came out perfectly. (I know, I know, if we were good Americans we'd grill.) I whipped up a mixture of:
Mayo, a heaping spoonful (can't get enough of the sweet sweet nectar!)
Fresh grated parm, probably about 2 tbsp
Fresh lime juice, a couple of squirts
Cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp or so
Garlic powder, a couple of shakes
I really didn't measure anything - just kept mixing until it tasted right. Then I smeared the whole mess over the corn, sprinkled some sweet paprika for visual appeal, wrapped it up in foil, and 30 minutes later - voila! Juicy, sweet, street-style corn.