With Mardi Gras coming up, I thought something created in New Orleans (or “Nola” as they call it locally) would be a good choice. The cuisine is quite eclectic, but there are a few dishes that stand out in my mind. This is one of them.
The history of Po’ Boy sandwiches is both well-known and questionable at the same time.
The well-known part is the sandwich was created in 1929 by two brothers, Bennie and Clovis Martin, in their Martin Brothers French Market and Coffee Stand in New Orleans during a streetcar worker’s strike. As former streetcar workers themselves, Bennie and Clovis supported the striking workers by promising to provide free sandwiches to them. These sandwiches were usually made of fried potatoes, gravy, and bits of roast beef served on French bread.
The questionable part is over how the sandwich got its name. Legend says that when a striking worker came to the Martin Brothers shop for a sandwich, Bennie would shout to Clovis, “here comes another poor boy!” But, other writings and accounts tell a slightly different story. Regardless of what really happened, the Martins were recognized by the city in the 1970s as the originators of the Po’ Boy.
The sandwich itself has evolved over the years. Most contemporary versions of a Po’ Boy are filled with seafood such as fried shrimp, crab, or oyster, which for coastal New Orleans only makes sense. To this are usually added lettuce, tomatoes, and a tangy remoulade sauce to bring it all together. But really any meat could be used in a Po’ Boy including chicken, pork, beef, or even alligator (we *are* talking about Nola, you know). Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Adapted from Norine’s Nest
Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich
A classic from the streets of New Orleans - simple yet delicious, and good for Mardi Gras or any time of the year.
Adapted from Norine's Nest
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the sauce and whisk until blended smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
If shrimp are frozen, thaw under cold water.
Heat approximately 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
In a shallow bowl combine egg and buttermilk and mix well. In another bowl combine flour, cornmeal, garlic power, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and paprika, and whisk until blended.
Working in batches, dip the shrimp into the buttermilk mixture to coat evenly, then remove and allow to drip excess back into the bowl before dredging in the flour mixture. Fry in oil about 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning as needed. Remove cooked shrimp and place in a dish lined with paper towels to drain while preparing the next batch.
Heat a griddle or large skillet on medium-high heat. Combine melted butter and garlic powder, then spread on the insides of each French roll. Toast bread on the griddle or skillet butter-side down until lightly browned.
To assemble: place a roll toasted-side up in the middle of a plate. Spread remoulade sauce on both toasted halves. On one half cover with shredded lettuce, and the other half cover with sliced tomatoes. Add shrimp down the center of the roll. Drizzle with more remoulade sauce if desired. Serve immediately.
Serving Size 1 sandwich
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 1085
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 55g85%
- Saturated Fat 14g70%
- Cholesterol 466mg156%
- Sodium 2640mg111%
- Potassium 587mg17%
- Total Carbohydrate 96g32%
- Dietary Fiber 6g24%
- Sugars 11g
- Protein 52g104%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- Lettuce and tomatoes are recommended garnishes, but any other sandwich ingredient can be added to suit individual tastes
- If a spicier taste is desired:
- Increase the amount of creole seasoning or hot sauce in the remoulade
- Offer seasonings on the side with each sandwich