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~ Mardi Gras Shrimp Remoulade a la Galatoire's ~

PICT2688The New Orleans festival known as "Mardi Gras" means "Fat Tuesday", with "Mardi" being the French word for "Tuesday", and, "gras" being the French word for "fat".  The festivities start on January 6th, or the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, and carry on until the day before Ash Wednesday, or Fat Tuesday.  The Mardi Gras festivities (parties, parades and feasts) will carry on until the stroke of midnight tomorrow night, when lent begins.  Mardi Gras is a legal holiday in New Orleans and has been an annual event for two centuries!

CA Mardi Gras 026

Mard9I've never been to New Orleans specifically to celebrate Mardi Gras, but I have traveled to this savoir-faire filled city between the Christmas and New Years holidays.  Back in 1982, Joe and I spent seven glorious days there, during which time we ate our way through this city's superb restaurants, bars, grilles and countryside dives.  On our very first night in New Orleans, we chose (upon the recommendation of close friends) to dine at the famous Galatoire's:

IMG_5298Founded 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!

DSC_1367Galatoire's most popular and most requested dish is shrimp remoulade (reh-moo-lahd).  Remoulade is a classic French condiment, which is usually aioli- or mayonnaise-based. This is not the case with Galatoire's special, spicy "Louisiana red" tomato-y blend of grainy Creole mustard, horseradish, hot paprika, Worcestershire, vinegar and oil. Once you've eaten their shrimp remoulade, no other version will do!

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!

PICT4409For the shrimp:

2  pounds, extra-jumbo (16/20 count shrimp), thawed if frozen

(Note:  I buy both fresh and frozen shrimp, but I always try to purchase tail-on, shell-on deveined shrimp. To thaw frozen shrimp safely, place them in a bowl of very cold water and in about a hour they'll be completely thawed.)

3  cups water

3  cups white wine

1  large, juicy lemon, cut in half

4  medium-sized bay leaves

PICT4421~ Step 1.  To cook the shrimp, place the wine and water in an 8-quart stockpot.  Squeeze the lemon juice into the pot, then add the lemon rinds.  Add the bay leaves.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the shrimp.  When the water returns to a boil, cook for exactly 1 1/2 minutes. Do not overcook!




~ Step 2.  Drain the shrimp into a colander and rinse under very cold water until shrimp are cool, or cold, to the touch, but ever so slightly warm in the center.  Transfer to a food storage bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Peel.  I leave the tails on, but that choice remains yours!

PICT2688For the remoulade sauce:

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

chiffonade of romaine or iceberg lettuce, about 1 1/2-2 cups per portion

1-2  lemon wedges, per portion, for accompaniment (1-2 lemons cut into wedges)

* 1/2 cup very thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish

PICT2685~ Step 1.  Prep the celery, green onions, yellow onion and parsley as directed.  Set aside.

~ Step 2.  In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place all ingredients except for oil. Process for 30 seconds.

Note:  Now is the time to taste and adjust your remoulade mixture for seasonings.  There is no going back after the next step!

PICT2695~ Step 3.  With the motor running on the food processor, 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.

PICT2697~ Step 4. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the prepped vegetables.

PICT2704Step 5.  Transfer to a 2-quart food storage container, cover and refrigerate for several hours to overnight.  Put your feet up and have a Mardi Gras drink!

~ Step 6.  Place shrimp in a bowl and fold in enough remoulade sauce to lightly coat.  Portion onto plates that have a bed of shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce on them. Garnish each portion with green onions and a lemon wedge or two!

PICT2686Mardi Gras Shrimp Remoulade a la Galatoire's:  Recipe serves 8 as an appetizer or 6 as a salad, and, makes 4 generous cups of remoulade sauce.

Special Equipment List: 8-quart stockpot; colander; food storage bag; cutting board; chef's knife; food processor; 2-quart food storage container

Flash3Cook's Note:  Shrimp remoulade is New Orleans' version of shrimp cocktail.  That being said, it is also great served atop crab cakes, or, mixed with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise and slathered on a po' boy sandwich. This simple dish can be served on elegant china for any festive occasion, or, on a paper plate at a picnic or tailgate...

... a dish truly fit for a King!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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