Although rémoulade sounds fussy and French, it’s traditionally just homemade mayonnaise doctored up with capers and diced gherkins (tiny pickles). In this version, created by Alberta Williams, a M.O.M. and second mother to our friend and regular guest Glen Zoller, hot sauce and cayenne pepper give it plenty of Cajun-style kick. The sauce is tossed with boiled or grilled shrimp and served on a bed of shredded lettuce, but you can also serve it with crab or fish. You might even want to save some, mix it with an equal amount of mayonnaise, and use it as a sandwich spread with chicken or turkey. Try to make the rémoulade sauce a day ahead, which gives the flavors a chance to meld and develop.
For the rémoulade sauce:
1 clove garlic, minced 1 medium rib celery, finely chopped 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts, about 2 scallions) 2 Tbsp white-wine vinegar 1 Tbsp paprika 1/8 tsp kosher salt 1.5 tsp prepared horseradish 1/4 cup Creole or stone-ground mustard 1 Tbsp ketchup 1.5 tsp Tabasco sauce 1/2 cup olive oil
For the shrimp:
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1 medium onion, sliced 1 rib celery, sliced 1 bay leaf 2 Tbsp kosher salt 1 Tbsp black peppercorns 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon) 5 cups cold water 1 pound extra-large shrimp, unpeeled
For the garnish:
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally (white and green parts, end trimmed)
To make the rémoulade sauce:
- Place the garlic, celery, parsley, scallions, vinegar, paprika, salt, horseradish, mustard, ketchup, and hot sauce in a blender or the bowl of a small food processor fitted with the metal blade. Blend until combined.
- With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Continue processing until the oil is incorporated and emulsified, giving the sauce a thick, creamy consistency. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sauce into an airtight container and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving, preferably a few hours or overnight. (This helps meld the flavors and mellow out the scallions.) The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.
To make the shrimp:
- Place the carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath with 4 cups of ice cubes and 4 cups of cold water in a large bowl.
- Turn off the heat, add the shrimp, cover the pot, and let sit for 5 to 6 minutes (stirring the shrimp once or twice to make sure they all get submerged in the water), or until they are white all the way through (peel one to check).
- Strain the shrimp through a sieve set over the bowl and place in the ice bath to cool for about 1 minute before peeling. Reserve the cooking liquid to make shrimp stock, if desired.
- Peel the shrimp and de-vein them, keeping the tails intact (they look more appetizing that way).
- Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Add about 1/3 cup of the rémoulade and gently toss to generously coat the shrimp. Allow the shrimp to marinate in the sauce for 20 minutes.
Place a thin layer of lettuce on each plate. Arrange the shrimp on the top of the lettuce, allowing 4 or 5 per serving. Top with the scallions and sauce.