There are thousands of variations of Po-Boy recipes and fixings out there. This recipe is a basic one you can build upon, and I encourage you to try different seasonings or fillings. If you already have a favorite way of making the shrimp, I would go with something you already enjoy. The only limit is your imagination. Try marinating the shrimp in a Salsa Negra marinade or grilling it with mesquite wood instead of frying.
One of my personal favorites is the Peacemaker, which is blackened shrimp and blackened oysters. Legend has it that husbands who stayed out too late in New Orleans nightlife would bring this sandwich back home to their wives as a peace offering. It is that good. You can find blackening seasoning and the techniques from a previous post covering Blackened Halibut. Just substitute shrimp and oysters with the same method and cook until just done in a heavy iron skillet.
A Note On The Bread:
The bread of most iconic sandwiches, like the crust on a New York pizza, is notoriously challenging to imitate. Po-Boy bread is no exception. The bread is from Leidenheimer’s Bakery Co in New Orleans and comes in two 12-inch loaves for this post. I love this bread and really can’t say enough about it when it comes to sandwich making. It is light as a feather, crunchy, soft, and resilient. In the last photo below, you would think there’s no way you can close that sandwich, but with a bit of patience and persuasion of two index fingers pressing the fixings back in, it does the nearly impossible and takes it all in.
You can easily feed four people by cutting each loaf in half. Heat the bread in a 400°F oven for 2-3 minutes. The object is not to toast the bread as much as liven up the texture.
There are plenty of bakeries in New Orleans who will be happy to send you a couple of loaves. Check out The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival for sources.
Sunset & Sewanee Style Shrimp Po-Boy
- chef knife for prepping lettuce, tomato, and pickles
- bread knife for cutting baguettes
- boning or fillet knife for cleaning shrimp
- cutting board
- deep fryer or large heavy saute pan
- measuring cups and spoons
- medium-sized mixing bowl
- sheet pan fitted with a wire cooling rack
- 1 quart Oil, vegetable, peanut, avocado, or Canola
- 2 dozen shrimp fresh 31-35 ct size (3 dozen freshly shucked oysters are a great substitute)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ cup beer, Pilsner
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp mustard, yellow (French's)
- 1 tsp concentrated chicken base or (chicken-flavor powdered bouillon, ground)
- ½ tsp oregano, Mexican
- ½ tsp pepper, black, fresh ground
- ½ cup each lettuce, iceberg finely shredded
- 3 half slices of each tomato, fresh and sliced
- 4-5 slices each pickles chips, kosher
- 1 tsp each ketchup
- 1 tsp salt, celery
- 3 dashes of Crystal or Tabasco-style hot sauce
- Preheat oil in a heavy bottom pot or large sauté pan to (375°F or 190°C) and maintain. Heat enough oil to submerge the shrimp/oysters/fish completely.
Prep the Po-boy Bread
- Using a bread knife, take the baguette and cut it into 6-inch sections. Then, use the same knife to split the bread being careful not to cut through. Reserve
- Peel and clean the shrimp by removing the vein at the back. Rinse, reserve, and keep cold.
Make the Batter and Cook
- Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, beer, minced garlic, yellow mustard, chicken base, oregano, and black pepper to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Using your fingers or a set of tongs, dip each shrimp in batter, as needed, and carefully lower into the hot oil (375°F or 190°C).
- Cook the shrimp until deep golden brown and crispy. The time will vary depending on the size of shrimp you use.
- While this process continues, you can preheat the pre-cut Po-Boy buns in an oven at 400 degrees for 2-3 minutes with the crust side up. (The object here is to warm the bread instead of toasting it.)
- Start by dressing your Po-Boy bun with mayonnaise (or tartar sauce) and ketchup (optional) on the other.
- Add the pickle and tomato slices and hot shrimp to the bun.
- Next, top the sandwich with shredded iceberg lettuce and season with Crystal or Tabasco style hot sauce and celery salt.