Creole Remoulade Sauce is truly a recipe of New Orleans. It is a very tangy and full-bodied sauce usually served with boiled shrimp or seafood. Derived from French cuisine and adapted by Creole cooks, the sauce eventually making it’s way onto the menus of some of the oldest and finest New Orleans’ restaurants. With Mardi Gras celebrations and their pageantry and traditions in progress in New Orleans, I’m reminded of these restaurants and what made them famous.
Arnaud’s Restaurant on Bienville Street is a very old New Orleans restaurant. It was founded by flamboyant “Count” Arnaud Cazenave in 1918 making it 100 years old this year. The restaurant serves classic French and Creole cuisine in a very formal setting. The owner, many years ago, claimed to be the originator of Remoulade Sauce. He kept it a secret, refusing to tell the ingredients. Instead, he bottled and sold the sauce. When the owner passed away, his will specified that the ingredients not be divulged. And so the executor of the estate continued to bottle the sauce.
According to Susan Tucker who wrote the book, “New Orleans Cuisine,” remoulade sauce was around a long time before Cazenave put it on his menu in the 1940’s. She sites several cookbooks dating from the turn of the century which have variations of the sauce. In original French cuisine, the sauce was served with shaved celery root. Remoulade also refers to “horseradish” and this ingredient gives the sauce it’s bite. (Susan Tucker, © 2009, “New Orleans Cuisine”, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.)
In addition to shrimp and seafood, the sauce can be served with many other foods. Fried Green Tomatoes, featured in one of my blog posts tastes great with this sauce. Remoulade Sauce can be served with fish, fried onion rings, stuffed hard boiled eggs and even a dressing for po-boys. I enjoy the sauce on a green salad.
Creole Shrimp Remoulade Sauce Recipe
There are several variations of Remoulade Sauce. One version is made with mayonnaise, ketchup and seasonings and is termed a “white remoulade.” The classic Creole Remoulade Sauce, however, doesn’t contain either mayonnaise or ketsup. The sauce ingredients begin with an vinegar-and-oil base. Add Creole mustard which is a grainy brown mustard with lots of bite. This is not the same as Dijon mustard. Horseradish is an ingredient along with onion, celery and parsley, The vegetables impart a “fresh” taste. And the red color comes from paprika. Finish with a dash of cayenne pepper.
I ate at Arnaud’s Restaurant when first moving to New Orleans. Moving South from the mountains in western Virginia, we rarely ate shrimp or seafood. I ordered Arnaud’s Shrimp Remoulade and loved it — that’s how I learned to eat seafood.
To serve, pour this sauce over the cold boiled shrimp or use it as a dipping sauce along with an appetizer of seafood or other food. It’s still my favorite seafood sauce. Is this Arnaud’s sauce recipe? No, although I’ve seen printed recipes attesting to be his. This is a very similar one which I’ve adapted from various sources for my taste.
Creole Remoulade Sauce
- 1/3 cup white or sweet onion
- 1/2 cup coursely chopped celery with leaves
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 2 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Creole mustard
- 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
- 1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- dash cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 lb boiled, peeled and deveined shrimp, chilled
- shredded lettuce
Method and Steps
- Process the white onion, celery and parsley in food processor bowl until finely chopped.
- In another small bowl, combine sherry wine vinegar, Creole mustard, horseradish, olive oil and canola oil. Whisk to combine.
- Add the processed vegetables and stir to combine.
- Season with the paprika, salt and cayenne pepper (optional).
- Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
- To serve, mix the sauce with the boiled peeled shrimp and serve on a bed of lettuce.