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Remoulade or rémoulade, invented in France, is a popular condiment in many countries. Very much like the tartar sauce of some English-speaking cultures, remoulade is often aioli- or mayonnaise-based. Although similar to tartar sauce, it is often more yellowish (or reddish in Louisiana), often flavored with curry, and sometimes contains chopped pickles or piccalilli. It can also contain horseradish, paprika, anchovies, capers and a host of other items. While its original purpose was possibly for serving with meats, it is now more often used as an accompaniment to seafood dishes, especially pan-fried breaded fish fillets (primarily sole and plaice) and seafood cakes (such as crab or salmon cakes).
Remoulade is very popular in France, Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Germany, Sweden, Norway and in the United States, especially in Louisiana Creole cuisine. It is used with french fries, on top of roast beef items, and as a hot dog condiment, although there are a multitude of other applications:
- In France Remoulade sauce is made from mayonnaise to which is added mustard and shallots, capers and chopped pickles, and fresh herbs (chives, tarragon, chervil, burnet). It is commonly used in céleri rémoulade, which consists of thinly cut pieces of celeriac with a mustard-flavored remoulade and also to accompany red meats, fish and shellfish.
- In Belgium, it can be found as a condiment for frites, often sold at takeaway stands.
- In Denmark, it is an essential ingredient on the Danish open-face roast beef sandwiches (smørrebrød), along with roasted onion. Remoulade is also used for fish meatballs or breaded fillets of fish (e.g. cod or plaice) along with lemon slices. As a condiment for french fries the Danes can usually order tomato ketchup, remoulade or both, although in recent years mayonnaise has gained ground. In most regions it is used on Danish hot dogs along with mustard, ketchup, roasted or raw onions and pickled cucumber slices. Marketed as "Danish remoulade", it has become popular in Germany and Sweden, but there mostly for fish with boiled potatoes, dill and perhaps[weasel words] creamed spinach. Many German and Swedish hot dog stands serve an optional "Danish hot dog" as described above.
- In Iceland, remoulade (remúlaði) is a condiment commonly served on hot dogs, together with mustard, ketchup, raw and fried onions.
- In Louisiana Creole cooking, remoulade often contains paprika and tends to appear more reddish or pink, not yellowish as in other areas.
- In the U.S., it is typically served as a condiment with seafoods. Po-boy sandwiches and fried soft shell crab sandwiches often are served with remoulade as the only sauce.
- In the Netherlands it is often served with fried fish.
- In Germany its main use is with fried fish and as an ingredient of potato salads.
According to Larousse Gastronomique, rémoulade is 250 ml (1 cup) of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons mixed herbs (parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon), 1 tablespoon drained capers, 2 finely diced cornichons and a few drops of anchovy essence (optional). Some recipes use chopped anchovy fillets. The rémoulade used in céleri rémoulade is a simple mustard-flavoured mayonnaise spiced with garlic and pepper. Rémoulade is classified in French cooking as a derivative of the mayonnaise sauce.
Danish remoulade has a mild, sweet-sour taste and a medium yellow color. The typical industrially-made variety does not contain capers, but finely-chopped cabbage and pickled cucumber, fair amounts of sugar and hints of mustard, cayenne pepper, coriander and onion, and turmeric for color. The herbs are replaced by herbal essences, e.g. tarragon vinegar. Starch, gelatin or milk protein may be added as thickeners.
Louisiana remoulade can vary from the elegant French-African Creole, the rustic Afro-Caribbean Creole, or the Classic Cajun version, and like the local variants of roux and bordelaise sauce, each version is quite different from the French original. Invariably, it is red (bright red to ruddy-orange) and is usually very piquant. Louisiana-style remoulades fall generally into one of two categories—those with a mayonnaise base and those with an oil base. Each version may have an abundance of finely chopped vegetables, usually green onions and celery, and parsley; most are made with either Creole or stone-ground mustard. Salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper are also standard ingredients. In the oil- and mayonnaise-based versions, the reddish hue comes from the addition of paprika. Other popular additions include lemon juice, hardboiled egg or raw egg yolks, minced garlic, hot sauce, vinegar, horseradish, capers, cornichons, and Worcestershire sauce.
While the classic white remoulade is a condiment that can be offered in a variety of contexts (e.g. the classic celery root remoulade), Creole remoulade is nearly always associated with shrimp. Today, shrimp remoulade is a ubiquitous cold appetizer in New Orleans Creole restaurants, although, historically, hard boiled eggs with remoulade was a less expensive option on some menus. It is most often served as a stand-alone appetizer (usually on a chiffonade of iceberg lettuce), but it can be paired with other items such as fried green tomatoes or mirliton. Rarely, one might also see crawfish remoulade, but remoulade sauce is very seldom offered in restaurants as an accompaniment with fish; cocktail sauce and tartar sauce are generally the condiments of choice. Food columnist and cookbook author Leon Soniat suggests to "Serve [remoulade] over seafood or with sliced asparagus."
Central Mississippi has Comeback sauce, a condiment that is very similar to Louisiana remoulade.
- Prosper Montagné (1961). Charlotte Snyder Turgeon & Nina Froud, ed. Larousse gastronomique: the encyclopedia of food, wine & cookery. Crown Publishers. p. 861. ISBN 0-517-50333-6. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Soniat, Leon E (1983). La Bouche Creole, p.61. Pelican Publishing.
- Tulane University Newcomb College Center for Research on Women Deep South Culinary Oral History Project
- lib.k-state.edu, This page contains images of what may be the first recipe of remoulade in print from the 1817 edition of Le Cuisinier Royal.]