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What Is Crab Remoulade?

By Meg Higa
Updated May 16, 2024
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A crab remoulade is typically served one of two ways. In one, crab meat can be removed from its shell and tossed with other complementary ingredients. Alternately, lump or shredded crab meat can be mixed with several traditional ingredient to be formed, and cooked, into patties. In both cases, the result is finished with a flavoring of the classic sauce of French origin called a remoulade.

In traditional French cooking, the remoulade is a thick, light yellow sauce served chilled over cold meats, including seafood and shellfish. A simple serving of crab meat such as leg sections is common. The basic sauce has a texture and flavor that also makes it a good dressing for cold salad vegetables. Cooked and chilled asparagus spears or other vegetables can be served accompanying the crab in this straightforward presentation of crab remoulade.

The basic remoulade starts with the blending of an aioli, more commonly called a mayonnaise. The typical aioli combines finely minced garlic, lemon juice and an egg yolk. This mixture is briskly whisked, or blended in an electric appliance, while an oil is slowly added until it thickens into a smooth, cream or paste consistency. Many skip this step, and simply purchase a commercial jar of prepared mayonnaise.

Gently folded into the mayonnaise are several ingredients which are almost always found in a crab remoulade sauce. They include mustard, some herbs and seasonings, and chopped pickles such as sweet gherkins and sour capers. Not only in taste and texture, but also in how the two sauces are often used, a remoulade is very similar to another called tartar sauce. Other less common ingredients, always chopped quite finely, are additional aromatic vegetables such as green onions, and a component of strong spice such as grated horseradish.

Many countries and regions have adopted their own unique remoulade sauces. One very unique version is the French-Creole sauce in the American state of Louisiana. Invariably, it is colored red from ingredients such as a hot sauce or ground cayenne pepper, and correspondingly, it is also always quite spicy. The taste is possibly too strong as a crab remoulade; it is more often served as an accompaniment to shrimp.

Residents of Louisiana, as well as in other coastal regions of the U.S., are fond of an American dish called the crab cake. It is essentially a crab remoulade. Pieces of crab meat are mixed with bread crumbs and a choice of chopped ingredients. It is formed into a patty disk with the binding help of either mayonnaise or an egg yolk, and then lightly browned in a frying pan. The crab cake can be topped with a variety of creative sauces, but the most common is a simple remoulade.

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