Sandwich Sundays: The Shrimp Po’ Boy
Coffee: Louisanne, our slightly smoky blend with a delicate mineral undercurrent – polished yet rustic.
Resolution: This is the year we do more recipes featuring our obsession – sandwiches. We’ll invent some, steal some, and some we’ll just stand back and behold with a kind of wonder. These will be mostly city specialties – iconic sandwiches that are served a sense of place: You know where you are when you eat them. That’s the case with the po’ boy, native of the great city of New Orleans.
In our opinion, there’s one way to win the debate over where to find the best po’ boy: Head for the Parkway Tavern in Bayou St. John, a totally charming neighborhood within the Mid-City District.
538 Hagen Avenue
Whether you go for the roast beef with gravy or golden fried shrimp, the anatomy of the Parkway’s po’ boy is always the same: “dressed” (lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and pickles) on distinctive New Orleans–style French bread (lightly crisp crust, interior as airy as cotton candy) from celebrated century-old Leidenheimer Bakery. Nothing better; nowhere else.
Here’s the part where we give it our best: The La Colombe Shrimp Po’ Boy
With a classic like breaded shrimp, the goal is to create a complete coating that forms a protective crust on contact with hot oil. This not only prevents the absorption of oil, it also helps form a “seal” to produce the internal steam necessary to cook the shrimp quickly and thoroughly. That’s how you get the perfect contrast of shrimp that’s crispy outside but tender inside, and that’s what makes it stellar.
Ingredients for 2 Po’ Boy With Some Shrimp Left Over
1 lb. large (21 to 25 count) shrimp, peeled (Devein if you must, but we don’t recommend it because it creates a channel and screws up the breading process.)
1 cup flour, seasoned with lots of ground black pepper and a pinch of salt
1 cup egg wash (3 large eggs plus 3 tbsp. water, very lightly beaten)
4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs with sliver-like shapes that produce a crisper, crunchier crust)
6 cups peanut oil
2 long, soft French bread rolls, split in half
Thinly shredded iceberg lettuce, lightly dressed with vinaigrette
Thinly sliced tomato and pickles
In this order, fill three shallow pans with flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs. Dredge shrimp in four, coating it evenly, and gently shake off excess. Thoroughly coat each shrimp with egg wash, and place in breading, pressing down lightly and covering all sides. To dry out and bind crumbs (so they don’t fall off in the oil), let shrimp rest at room temperature for about thirty minutes.
Place about 2-inches of peanut oil in an 8-quart stockpot, and heat to 360°F. (The super fast Thermapen is a digital probe thermometer with a unique thermocouple that requires only about a 1/8-inch insertion to get an accurate reading – click here.) Fry shrimp in small batches until golden brown, about 1 and one half to 2 minutes. (Do what you can to keep the oil crumb free and at a steady 360°F.) Drain and transfer to rolls, layering with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Close roll, and press down lightly to seal.
Serve with mayo and hot sauce on the side.
To Stay in the Southern Mode
Use Duke’s brand regional mayonnaise from Greenville, South Carolina. It hasn’t changed its formula since Eugenia Duke developed it in 1917, and the lack of added sugar plus more egg yolks gives it a richness similar to homemade.
Find a store locator, and read more about Duke’s here.
Cochon Hot Sauce
You want a hot sauce that has flavor first and heat second, so you don’t get bowled over at first bite. New Orleans chef Donald Link is now shipping his famous hot sauce made with the slightly sweet Santa Fe peppers and just the right amount of vinegar. Find out more and purchase here.