Shrimp Po’ Boys

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Shrimp Po'Boy

Credit: Photo: Danielle Acken | Food Stylist: Aurelia Louvet

Two summers ago, I road tripped across the country with one of my best friends. Our first stop was New Orleans. We ate everything from gumbo to beignets, but my favorite meal was a po’ boy sandwich from Adams Street Grocery.

Because I haven’t had a chance to return, I decided to re-create the classic New Orleans sandwich at home. Thanks to the crispy fried shrimp and a tangy, zesty remoulade sauce, my version is packed with flavor and texture. Here’s how to do it.

Why Is It Called a Po’ Boy? 

The most widely accepted origin story begins in 1929, when streetcar workers at Electric Street Railway in New Orleans went on strike. The owners of Martin Brothers’ French Market and Coffee Stand, Bennie and Clovis Martin, decided to feed the strikers. The two brothers were streetcar conductors turned restauranteurs, and they put their support firmly behind the striking employees. They provided sandwiches filled with potatoes, gravy, and sometimes bits of roast beef. It was called the “poor boy” sandwich, and it took on a life of its own in New Orleans, continuing to evolve into the po’ boy sandwiches we know today.

Credit: Photo: Danielle Acken | Food Stylist” Aurelia Louvet

A “Dressed” Shrimp Po’ Boy

A “dressed” po’ boy usually means it’s topped with mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and sometimes a shake of hot sauce. Here, in keeping with several recipes we drew inspiration from, we’ve swapped the mayo for a tangy remoulade sauce: a mayonnaise-based sauce similar to tartar sauce, but taken up several notches. It’s made with Creole or Dijon mustard, hot sauce, horseradish sauce, relish, and seasonings like Creole seasoning, paprika, and cayenne. In short, it gives every fried seafood dish the flavorful boost it needs — including this po’ boy.

Thanks to crispy fried shrimp and a tangy, zesty remoulade sauce, this sandwich is packed with flavor and texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup

    finely ground cornmeal

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup

    buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoons

    hot sauce

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    medium uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 3 cups

    vegetable oil, for deep-frying

  • 4

    (8-inch) French sandwich rolls

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2

    medium beefsteak tomatoes (about 12 ounces total)

  • 1/2 cup

    remoulade, divided

  • 1/2

    small head iceberg lettuce

  • 1/3 cup

    dill pickle chips

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF.

  2. Place 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 3/4 cup cornmeal, 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Place 3/4 cup buttermilk and 2 tablespoons hot sauce in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Working with 1 shrimp at a time, dip 1 1/2 pounds uncooked shrimp in the buttermilk mixture and then coat with the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups vegetable oil in a 10-inch straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat until 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack. Split 4 (8-inch) French loaves horizontally and brush the cut sides with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toasting in 2 batches, place the rolls cut-side up in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until golden-brown and toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. Thinly slice 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes and cut 1/2 small head iceberg lettuce into shreds until you have 2 cups.

  5. When the oil is ready, fry the shrimp in 4 batches: Add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry, flipping halfway through, until golden-brown, about 3 minutes total. Transfer with tongs or a slotted spoon to the rack.

  6. Spread 1/2 cup remoulade on the cut sides of the rolls (1 tablespoon per half). Evenly distribute the fried shrimp between the four bottom halves. Top with the shredded lettuce, tomato slices, and 1/3 cup dill pickle chips. Close with the top half of each roll and cut each po’ boy in half.

Nicole Rufus

Assistant Food Editor

Nicole is the Assistant Food Editor at Kitchn. She writes about recipes as well as developing some of her own. You can usually find her playing around in the kitchen or online “window” shopping. She currently resides in Brooklyn and is getting her master’s in Food Studies.

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