What’s not to love about the classic Louisiana po boy sandwich? Most are dead simple, and rely heavily on high-quality ingredients: Super-fresh, local seafood, Creole tomatoes, homemade remoulade sauce, and surpassing bread.
What’s A Po Boy?
Po boy sandwiches are typically either seafood or roast beef (although I had a roast duck po boy near Grand Isle, Louisiana recently), and the best ones use remoulade, a Cajun version of the classic French mayo-mustard sauce.
But the bread is the real star in a po boy. Do your utmost to find really good bread, with a crackling crust and soft interior. Ideally you would use a French sandwich loaf, like a baguette, but wider and about a foot long. Without good bread, a po boy is pretty po’.
The Best Shrimp Sandwich
Shrimp po boys are served everywhere in Louisiana, but you can also do the same things with crawfish tails, catfish fillets or oysters – all are common in the Sportsman’s Paradise. Most are fried, but I’ve seen grilled seafood occasionally.
A word on the peanut oil: It is a very common cooking oil in Louisiana, and adds a flavor that will make your shrimp taste more of the Bayou. Personally, if I could not get peanut oil, I’d use lard. But that’s just me. Any vegetable oil will work just fine.
If you cant get peanut oil, use any other vegetable oil or lard. And if you don’t feel like making remoulade, smear the top of the bread with mayo and the bottom with mustard.
- 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and with tails removed
- 3/4 cup fine cornmeal
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Peanut oil for frying
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 2-3 tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 4 small French sandwich rolls
- 1/4 cup mustard, preferably Creole mustard
- 1 1/4 cups mayo
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon pickle juice or vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Crystal, Tabasco, etc)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced and smashed
- 1 Tbsp sweet paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 Make the remoulade sauce: If you are making your own remoulade, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes or so; you don’t have to wait that long, but the sauce will be better over time.
2 Heat oil in pan: Pour enough peanut oil in a large frying pan to come up about 1/4 inch, and set the pan over medium-high heat until a small amount of flour sizzles immediately when you drop some in.
3 Dredge shrimp: Mix the cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning and salt in a large bowl. Working with a few at a time, dredge the shrimp in the egg, then in the cornmeal-flour mixture.
4 Fry shrimp: Shake off any excess breading and fry the shrimp until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes total. Set the fried shrimp aside on paper towels to drain.
5 Assemble sandwiches: To assemble the sandwiches, slice the sandwich loaves almost all the way through and smear remoulade on both the top and bottom.
Lay down a layer of shredded lettuce on the bottom of the sandwich, then arrange the shrimp on top.
Lay 3-4 slices of tomato on the shrimp and press the top of the bread down on the bottom, compressing the sandwich a little.
Serve at once with hot sauce and a beer.