Fried Shrimp Po-boys

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{and other good eats for Mardi Gras}

At first look you might think to yourself, "Nicole, are you really posting a recipe about a sandwich?" I get it, but this is no ordinary "meat- mayo- throw in a few crisp veggies" sandwich.  This, my dear readers, is a po-boy.  A rather humble, but very satisfying sandwich from the streets of New Orleans.  From the meats to the condiments, the variations are endless. The one element that holds the contents of every incarnation of the po-boy is the bread.

The classic New Orleans French bread is crusty on the outside with a soft and tender interior.  It is sturdy enough to hold up to the packed fillings, yet tender enough so you don't have to dislocate your jaw to eat it.  Of course, I can't find that kind of french bread up in these parts, so I make my own.  I have linked the recipe for the rolls below. Y'all, come on! It really is an easy recipe.

Now for the meat.  I chose fried shrimp this time around because it is something we all enjoy.  I bathe the shrimp in buttermilk first before dredging it in a seasoned cornmeal mixture.  Once fried to golden perfection, I place them on a wire rack set over a paper bag to allow the excess oil to drain.  This helps keep the coating nice and crispy.  (Just watch out for passers-by who might sneak a hot shrimp or two. Get-outta-here!)

Where are we now?  Bread-- ✔.  Shrimp-- ✔.  Now comes the creamy, spicy condiment that brings this bad boy together.  It is my version of a mayonnaise based Rémoulade with a spicy Creole twist.  I use a combination of Dijon mustards and horseradish for a Creole mustard-like taste.  The only other po-boy fixings you need are a little shredded lettuce, tomato, and maybe a squeeze of lemon along with a good dash of hot sauce.  Slice, slather, stuff, and then sink your teeth into this regional favorite.  Serve it with the Mardi Gras Slaw and maybe a few potato chips on the side. As far as what beverage to serve, let me suggest a bottle of Abita beer to help wash it all down.  Mmm... Let the good times roll!!

Looking for more good eats for Mardi Gras??  

Printable Recipe

Fried Shrimp Po boys
makes 6-8 sandwiches

For the Creole Rémoulade
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon finely chopped gherkin
1 Tablespoon finely chopped green onion
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled horseradish
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Tabasco or hot sauce to taste

For the Fried Shrimp
1 1/2 to 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

For the Sandwiches
6-8 Po-boy rolls, sliced lengthwise
Shredded Iceberg lettuce
Sliced Beefsteak tomatoes
Lemon wedges
Tabasco to taste

For the Creole Rémoulade
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.  Season to taste with Tabasco or hot sauce.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Can be made up to 2 days in advance.

For the Fried Shrimp
Pour the buttermilk into a shallow bowl; set aside. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, seasoning, and salt; set aside.

In a large heavy pot or deep-fryer, heat 3 inches of oil over medium-high heat to 365º F.  Meanwhile, dip the shrimp into the buttermilk, drain thoroughly, then toss with the seasoned cornmeal.  Place the coated shrimp on a wire rack until all are coated and the oil is hot.  Working with a handful of shrimp at a time (do not crowd), add the shrimp to the hot oil  and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain on paper towel-lined paper bags, then place on a wire rack to stay crispy.  Maintain oil temperature and continue with remaining shrimp.

When ready to serve, spread the inside of each roll with some of the prepared Rémoulade.  Place the shredded lettuce and tomato slices to one side of the roll.  Add several pieces of fried shrimp to each roll.  Serve with lemon juice and Tabasco to taste.  Enjoy!

Source: Fried shrimp adapted from The Joy of Cooking, 1997, Rémoulade from The Galley Gourmet. Po boy Rolls adapted from Lee Bailey's New Orleans


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