Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich
Shrimp PoBoys are a staple in Cajun and South Louisiana cuisine; especially in New Orleans. “Po Boys” is a familiar term used to describe a submarine sandwich served on long French bread rolls. They are typically filled with some sort of fried seafood or any other hot sandwich meat; like hot roast beef or hot sausage.
Why do they call them “PoBoys”?
There many tall tails as to the origin of the name Po Boys. The most common story tells of streetcar workers on strike in 1929. A local restaurant owner and former streetcar conductor would bring the workers sandwiches. Employees from the restaurant referred to the workers as “Poor Boys”. Of course with our Louisiana slang they became known as PoBoys.
There are many, many restaurants in New Orleans and surrounding areas where most of their menu is comprised of different kinds of Po-Boys – fried shrimp, fried catfish, fried oysters, and fried soft shell crab. Are you seeing a pattern here? Po Boys are nothing like your run of the mill healthy deli sub sandwich, and they are generally served with french fries.
Certainly we can’t forget to talk about “Do you want it dressed?” What does that mean?
Having it “dressed” means that you want your Po Boy with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise. Otherwise, you just have it plain with either spicy Cajun Cocktail Sauce or Tartar Sauce.
One thing for sure Po Boys are here to stay. Here in Baton Rouge, there are several restaurants that serve wonderful versions of the Po Boy and all good. Many people in South Louisiana have at least one Po Boy a week for lunch. I know that I do. My favorite is a Catfish Po-Boy dressed. Enjoy!
This particular Saturday night, we made Shrimp Po Boys and Catfish Po Boys – give it a try!
Ingredients for a Shrimp or Catfish Po Boy Sandwich
1 pound fresh medium to large shrimp (peeled completely and deveined)
2-3 Thin Catfish filets (cut into strips)
Shrimp & Fish Fry mix or corn flour
½ cup All-purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
2 tablespoons Tony’s Creole Seasoning
Canola or Vegetable Oil
French Bread or Po-Boy Rolls
Tomatoes (thinly cut)
Slice Dill pickles
Optional: Yellow Mustard, Creole Mustard, Ketchup, Cocktail Sauce or Tartar sauce.
The Seafood: Prepare your Shrimp by peeling completely and slice the top open to remove the dark vein. Prepare Catfish by cutting into strips somewhat like chicken tender strips.
Seafood Batter: Prepare the egg wash by breaking an egg into a mixing bowl. Wisk in some milk (maybe a cup). Squeeze in a wedge of lemon or lime juice. In another mixing bowl, pour in the Shrimp & Fish Fry mix. Add ½ cup of flour, 1 tablespoon Sea Salt and 2 tablespoons Tony’s. Stir altogether well.
The Oil: Using a heavy bottom deep pot, skillet, or electric fryer, pour in fresh canola or vegetable oil. Always be careful to leave 2-4” from the top to leave room for the oil to bubble up. Optimal temperature is 350 to 375 degrees. An electric fryer either has an automatic temperature setting or a button to help you. If you are using a regular pot and do not have a thermometer, drop a small amount of the frying batter into the oil. If it bubbles up quickly, the oil is ready.
Note: Oil and water DO NOT MIX!! Keep water away from the hot oil. If you pour water on the oil, the mixture will explode. If the oil smokes or catches fire, cover it with a pan lid or cookie sheet. You can use baking soda to put out any grease fires, but be careful that you don’t spread the flames around.
Battering Seafood: Using your left hand, drop several pieces of shrimp or catfish in the egg wash and cover completely. Pull out and drop in the Shrimp & Fish Fry mixture. With your right hand, toss the seafood around to fully coat with corn flour. Shake off excess and place on a platter. Continue this process until all seafood is coated.
Deep Frying: Once the oil is properly heated, carefully drop seafood into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Seafood should freely move around. Seafood will be ready in just a couple minutes. It should be golden brown and probably will be floating to the top of the oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain excess oil on layers of paper towels.
Serving Suggestions for Shrimp Po Boy Sandwiches
This is optional – prepare French bread or Po’Boys by splitting open and spreading butter on the inside. Toast in the oven. Then, add desired amount of seafood, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise. Some people prefer mustard, cocktail sauce or tarter sauce. Fold it altogether and cut in half for easy handling.
Oh man – that’s some good eating Cher!