For a good eight or nine months out of the year, the weather in New Orleans is roughly equivalent to the ninth circle of hell, only more humid. Consequently, the city slows down to more of a crawl than usual (we don’t do “fast” or single-digit mornings well) and our heavier Creole foods give way to crisp, seasonal menus with just enough savory fat content to keep us going.
This is a refreshing summer salad that’s a mashup of a traditional New Orleans shrimp remoulade with a dill and horseradish aioli, plus bacon, tiny tomatoes, and peppery arugula to add the elements of a B.L.T. Serve with some crusty bread or garlic toast for a casual-yet-elegant lunch.
Summer Shrimp Remoulade B.L.T. Salad
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divide, plus one teaspoon
- 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, preferably full-fat Bulgarian style
- 1 tbsp Dijon, Creole, or whole-grain mustard, your choice
- 2 tsp prepared horseradish
- Juice of 1 lemon, divided in half
- 2 prepared horseradish
- 1/2-1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (optional)
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
- 4 cups baby arugula
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over fairly high heat. Toss shrimp with salt and pepper, and add half the shrimp to the pan (avoid overcrowding). Sear about 90 seconds per side, turning only once. Remove from pan, and repeat with remaining shrimp. Set aside to cool. (Alternately, if you are using medium shrimp, feel free to quickly stir-fry them in olive oil for about 2 minutes.)
Stir together remaining ingredients, through the 3 optional ingredients (if using), leaving ½ lemon juice aside. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate shrimp and remoulade for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before you’re ready to serve.
Meanwhile, cook bacon according to package directions or your favorite method. If it’s a hot summer day, the microwave is your friend. When cool, coarsely chop or crumble.
Slice tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on size.
Stir together shrimp and remoulade sauce, adding remoulade a ¼ cup or so at a time until the shrimp is sauced to your liking. (Personally, I’m not big on “gloppy.”)
Toss arugula with remaining lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mound 4 plates with 1 cup of arugula each. Top with shrimp remoulade and a scattering of tomatoes and bacon. Add a grind or two of fresh black pepper, if you wish, and serve 4 guests.
- I know a few folks who don't care for the bite of arugula. Feel free to substitute another tender green, such as butter lettuce or a spring mix.
- Don't skimp on the bacon. Thick cut bacon is a great investment: Every slice is easily equivalent to 2 or more of the thin stuff, and the end result has more of a meaty bite.
- When purchasing dill, look for the "recipe size" packets for around $1, give or take a few pennies. You'll use most if not all or it for this one recipe. If you end up with a larger size, don't let the rest go to waste. Fresh dill is great in cole slaw, potato salad, homemade dressings, even stirred into buttermilk biscuit batter, on a baked potato, or in a compound butter for a grilled steak.