There are literally thousands of variations of Po-Boy recipes and fixings out there. This recipe is a very 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/or 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 difficult to imitate. Po-Boy bread is no exception. For this post, the bread is from Leidenheimer’s Bakery Co in New Orleans and comes in two 12-inch loaves. 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 little 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. I like to reheat mine in the oven at 400 degrees for 1-2 minutes, split lengthwise through the equator of the loaf without cutting all the way through. I place them crust side up in the oven just long enough to get that fresh from the oven taste and feel. 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
- Oil Vegetable, Peanut, Avocado, Canola for frying, approx 1 qt. or enough to make shrimp float
- 1 egg large, beaten
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cup beer Pilsner or water
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp Creole mustard or whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp yellow mustard like French's
- 1 tsp concentrated chicken base or chicken-flavor powdered bouillon
- 1 cup corn flour
- 3 dozen peeled and deveined fresh shrimp 31-35 ct size or 3 dozen freshly shucked oysters
- 1 tsp celery salt for seasoning
- Crystal or Tabasco for seasoning
- Preheat oil in a heavy bottom pot or large sauté pan to 375 and maintain. Heat up enough oil to completely submerge the shrimp/oysters/fish.
- Add all of the ingredients except the shrimp and celery salt to a bowl and whisk the ingredients to incorporate.
- Rinse Shrimp gently.
- Dredge the shrimp in flour and shake off the excess.
- Dip each shrimp in batter, as needed, and carefully lower into the hot oil (375 F).
- Cook the shrimp until deep golden brown and crispy. The time will vary depending on the size of shrimp you use.
- While this process is going on, you can preheat the pre-cut Po-Boy buns in an oven at 400 degrees for 1-2 minutes with the crust side up. (The object here is to warm the bread instead of toasting it.)
- Add the pickle and tomato slices and hot shrimp to the bun.
- Top with shredded Iceberg lettuce and season with Crystal or Tabasco style hot sauce and celery salt.