Are you looking for a tasty shrimp salad to serve during our hot summer weather? Then try a traditional New Orleans-style shrimp and pasta salad. It is cool and refreshing and the unique Remoulade Sauce in the recipe makes the seasoned boiled shrimp really “pop.” You can’t get much more Southern than this dish. The salad is quite different from most shrimp salads which you will find served here in the South but I love my recipe. The idea comes from the proprietor of Martin’s Wine Cellar — a venerable New Orleans establishment which relocated to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina.
Martin’s Wine Cellar
Martin’s Wine Cellar has a special place in my heart. It is located about a block off of St. Charles Street in the garden district/uptown New Orleans. Years ago, during our annual treks to New Orleans for Mardi Gras parades, (we lived in Baton Rouge), we parked close to this deli/store and walked to the parade route somewhere nearby on St. Charles Street. We also made sure to also stop in, eat at the deli and check out the selection of fine wines and nick knacks in Martin’s Wine Cellar before leaving town. It was an annual ritual. Plus, my husband and business partners often had long, informal “business” lunches in the store’s deli. Martin’s Wine Cellar, established in 1946, temporarily closed its doors in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We were glad to see that they opened a store in Baton Rouge. Now there are two locations of the store, Martin Wine & Spirits, in Baton Rouge plus the stores in New Orleans and Metairie.
Our local newspaper, the Advocate, recently published an article featuring Martin Wines & Spirits and the owner, Cedric Martin, who is the son of the original owner. The newspaper published Martin’s recipe for “Creole Shrimp Salad” which is served in store’s deli. Wow, what a great inspiration for a summer salad and a nostalgic memory of the establishment which we loved to visit during those trips to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
“Creole Shrimp & Pasta Salad with Remoulade Sauce”
My version of “Creole Shrimp & Pasta Salad with Remoulade Sauce” is inspired by the Martin Wine & Spirit recipe posted in the Advocate. There are enough significant differences in the store’s recipe and mine, that this is truly my own recipe. I use a classic version of New Orleans-Style Remoulade Sauce for the dressing. This recipe, which was “invented” by the classic French Arnaud’s restaurant in New Orleans, does not contain any mayonnaise. Rather the dressing contains vinegar, oil, vegetable seasonings, Creole mustard, paprika and horseradish. In my opinion, this dressing has more similarities in flavor to a cocktail sauce than a mayonnaise-based remoulade salad dressing which is used in traditional French cuisine and Martin’s recipe..
The “secret” ingredients in this sauce are the horseradish and Creole mustard. These two ingredients give a tangy flavor to the salad. Don’t leave them out or you will miss the entire show. Paprika also flavors the dressing and gives it a red color.
Making the dressing
The other two ingredients which give flavor in this dressing recipe are celery and onion. These are chopped finely in a food processor. To finish the sauce, add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and blend in. Chill the sauce prior to finishing the salad and adding it to the shrimp and pasta. If the layers separate out, just stir to blend again.
Making the salad
To make the salad, I used frozen, small peeled shrimp with heads removed. Since this is a salad, the shrimp can be small. I used 51-90 count shrimp but larger-sized shrimp would also work nicely in the salad. I defrosted the shrimp in cool, running water. This goes quickly. If desired, remove the dark veins which run down the curved side of the shrimp using a small sharp knife. For the pasta, I used small shell pasta so that both main ingredients were similar in size. Certainly, other types of small pasta can be substituted. I added celery for crunch. Since onion is included in the Remoulade Sauce, I actually omitted it as a separate ingredient in the salad.
Boil the pasta shells according to package directions. These shell pasta were cooked in 10 minutes in boiling, salted water in a large pot. Then drain and let the pasta cool to room temperature.
Well-Seasoned, Boiled Shrimp is a “Must”
The success of this salad also depends including well-seasoned, boiled shrimp. You just can’t add bland shrimp to the salad. Cooking the shrimp is easy enough. I use crab boil (one 3-oz bag), lemon and onion (plus a little celery) as seasonings. Just a note: Leave the seasoning bag intact and add it to the water, don’t open it out and dump in all the small seeds and seasonings.
Bring these ingredients to a boil in a large pot on the stove. Then add the defrosted, drained shrimp. (Make sure to remove all ice particles clinging to the shrimp or the pot of water won’t return to a quick boil.) After adding the shrimp, the pot only needs to briefly return to a boil. The shrimp will quickly cook and turn pink. Then turn the burner on the stove off and let the shrimp steep in the seasonings to absorb the flavor for 15 minutes. Drain and chill the shrimp. You will have the best shrimp salad around with this technique.
Finishing the salad
All the components of the salad can be made earlier in the day. It is best if the pasta is cooled to room temperature so that it doesn’t continue to absorb the dressing. The Remoulade Sauce and shrimp can also be prepared head of time. Then stir the components together — cooked pasta, boiled shrimp, celery and Remoulade Sauce. If you have too much Remoulade Sauce to coat the shrimp and pasta, serve the remainder separately in a small bowl. Chill the shrimp and pasta salad again.. Then transfer to serving bowl and serve. I garnished the salad with leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes and lemon slices.
Treat your family and friends to a truly traditional “Creole Shrimp & Pasta Salad” this summer. You won’t have leftovers!
Creole Shrimp & Pasta Salad with Remoulade Sauce
Ingredients for Salad:
- 1/2 lb small dry shell pasta
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pound boiled shrimp, chilled (see below)
- 1 celery stick, cut crosswise into bite-size pieces
- 1 recipe Creole Remoulade Sauce
- leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, lemons for garnish
Method and Steps:
- Fill a large pot with water. Add salt. Bring to boil.
- Add dry shell pasta. Return to boil and boil gently for 10 minutes.
- Remove from stove, drain. Let pasta cool to room temperature prior to making salad.
- About an hour prior to serving, transfer pasta to serving bowl.
- Gently combine in boiled, chilled shrimp and celery. Save out a few shrimp for garnish.
- Pour Creole Remoulade Sauce over pasta, shrimp and celery and gently fold in. Pour just enough sauce to coat the shrimp and pasta. Serve any remaining sauce in a small bowl along with the shrimp and pasta salad..
- Chill until ready to serve.
- To serve, place in serving dish and top with reserved shrimp (for garnish). Garnish with leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes and lemons.
Ingredients for Boiled Shrimp:
- 1 lb frozen, peeled shrimp without heads, 51 to 90 count shrimp; may substitute larger sized shrimp, if desired.
- 1 (3 oz) bag Zatarian’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil or equivalent
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- several fresh celery leaves
Method and Steps for Boiled Shrimp:
- Defrost shrimp in refrigerator or under cool, running water. When defrosted, drain shrimp. Make sure that there are no ice particles clinging to shrimp. If needed, remove dark veins from back curved side of shrimp.
- Fill large pot 3/4 full with water. Add unopened bag of Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil and lemon, onion and celery leaves. Bring to boil.
- When water with seasonings is boiling, add defrosted shrimp. Return to boil.
- When shrimp turns pink — this may take only one to two minutes — turn off burner on stove. Let shrimp steep in seasoned water for 15 minutes.
- Remove shrimp and drain. Refrigerate to chill.
Creole Remoulade Sauce
- 1/3 cup white or sweet onion
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery with leaves
- 3 sprigs parsley, optional
- 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)
Method and Steps
- Process the white onion, celery and parsley (optional) 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 prior to adding to salad.