When I glance at a menu and see anything featuring rémoulade sauce, I’m salivating. Usually, it’s a straightforward shrimp appetizer served on a bed of shredded iceberg that in the hands of a cook that has their rémoulade repertoire figured out is well worth ordering. But recently I was astounded to find a spin on shrimp rémoulade that redefined the dish with a down-home Southern twist. That’s right, a Fried Green Tomato Shrimp Rémoulade.
I grew up on the Northshore just a quick 26-mile drive over the causeway bridge from New Orleans. So whenever I’m heading through those parts, as Rox, Lauren and I were recently, I search out a good restaurant and my niece Lisa Barrack told me about her favorite – Rips on the Lake. Along with her daughter Julianna and her mother Lavonia, Lisa joined us there for Sunday brunch on the outside patio overlooking beautiful Lake Pontchartrain. With a sweeping view of the lake framed by Spanish moss-laden oaks, I glanced at the menu and there it was in all its rémoulade glory–Fried Green Tomato Shrimp Rémoulade. Done deal; I was sold.
As usual in the Graham family, we ordered an array of dishes, but when the Fried Green Tomato Shrimp Rémoulade hit the table, the forks came flying. Crispy cornmeal-battered green tomatoes laid the scorching hot foundation for a pungently spiced cold rémoulade with just the right balance of sweet and heat for the ice-cold Gulf shrimp that crowned this masterpiece. Every forkful of this combination was singing a saucy Southern song punched with a zydeco backbeat of spicy flavors. It was glorious.
Rémoulade is synonymous with the French history of New Orleans Creole cuisine, but this is a well-traveled sauce. Denmark, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Norway all have their versions of rémoulade. And while the formula for rémoulade – mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, capers, anchovies, and herbs is the dominant combination–it can vary from country to country. But as usual here in Louisiana, we’ve adopted a kicked up approach to rémoulade that adds a lick of horseradish, a punch of Creole mustard, and a slap of hot sauce. There are many variations: From the classic white rémoulade of the fine Creole restaurants of the French Quarter to a spicier Cajun recipe version seen along the bayou–they’re all good. But it’s Rips’ Creole rémoulade on the Fried Green Tomato Shrimp Rémoulade that has my creative juices flowing; it is a perfectly pink preparation that pops on this fried tomato platter.
I couldn’t pry the recipe from the chef at Rips but with a pinch of this and a dash of that, I think I’ve nailed it. Try this Fried Green Tomato Shrimp Rémoulade linking fried green tomatoes and fresh Gulf shrimp, and I predict it will instantly become a remarkable Cajun recipe for your Acadiana table.
- 1 gallon water
- ½ cup salt
- 1 bag shrimp boil seasoning or ½ cup Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 whole lemon, halved
- 2 pounds large (21 – 25 count) raw shrimp, heads, shell and tails removed
- 3 cups quality mayonnaise, such as Blue Plate
- ½ cup Creole mustard, such as Zatarain’s
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon ketchup, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped capers
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely diced green onion tops
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Dash of hot sauce
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 cup peanut oil
- 2 large green tomatoes, sliced ½-inch-thick
- 2 cups firmly packed lettuce leaves
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- Parsley sprigs, for garnish
- In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the salt, bag of shrimp boil seasoning and lemon halves. Continue to boil for 5 minutes as the water seasons.
- Add the shrimp and boil for 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Let the shrimp sit in the water for 5 minutes until they turn pink. Test for doneness and then remove. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, seasoning blend, paprika, lemon juice, and horseradish. Add the ketchup and whisk together. Add more ketchup if needed to achieve a pinkish color.
- Add the garlic, capers, relish, celery, parsley, and green onion. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
- Add the flour to a shallow bowl and blend in the cayenne.
- In another bowl, whisk one egg with the buttermilk and a dash of hot sauce and set aside.
- Blend the cornmeal with the Cajun seasoning in a shallow pan and set aside. In three different stations, line up the flour, egg mixture, and cornmeal.
- In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add the peanut oil and bring to 375ºF. Coat each tomato slice in flour and shake off the excess. Submerge into the egg mixture and place in the seasoned cornmeal breading. Pat firmly so the cornmeal sticks to each side of the tomatoes and move to a wire rack. Gently add the breaded tomato slices to the hot oil making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry on 1 side until browned and turn once with a spatula and continue frying until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Move the fried tomatoes back to the wire rack and season with sea salt immediately.
- For serving, add a bed of lettuce on a plate and place fried green tomato slices on top. Add a portion of shrimp and spoon on the rémoulade sauce. Garnish with lemon slices and sprigs of fresh parsley.
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