Summer weather always calls for sandwiches in my world. Often they’re cold cuts packed in a picnic basket with a salad or two, some pickles and chips, and maybe a few cold slices of watermelon for dessert. Sometimes they’re the leftovers of a rotisserie chicken dinner grabbed from the deli case on my way out of the grocery store. But sometimes…sometimes…they’re a grand Southern treat.
A Po’ Boy – filled with delicately fried seafood, a piquant remoulade sauce, crispy lettuce, and tart tomatoes, the sandwich for which New Orleans is known – is my favorite version of this famous sandwich. There are many more versions including roast beef and fried chicken. Some even include french fries! Yeah, count me in on that one, too.
According to several sources, the term “Po’ Boy” originated with the Martin Brothers’ restaurant. Though the traditional submarine sandwich had long been served, the term “Po’ Boy” caught on during a prolonged streetcar workers’ strike in 1929. The Martins, former streetcar workers themselves, pledged to support the strikers with a free meal to any members of Division 194. The brothers said, “We are with you till h–l freezes, and when it does, we will furnish blankets to keep you warm.” Bennie Martin said, “We fed those men free of charge until the strike ended. Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming, one of us would say, ‘Here comes another poor boy.'” Local dialect being what it is, you can easily imagine how that eventually came to be “Po’ Boy.”
This Oven Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy recipe was adapted from the current issue of Cooking Light magazine. I was a bit skeptical at first of the oven frying bit, but was very pleasantly surprised with the result! I can’t claim that it’s exactly the same as good old deep fried shrimp, but it runs a pretty close second.
First, prepare your remoulade sauce by just combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the recipe.
Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Leave the baking sheet in the oven while prepping the shrimp.
Place the shrimp in a small bowl and sprinkle with flour and salt. Toss so that the shrimp is evenly coated. Pour the buttermilk over the shrimp. Stir to coat all the shrimp with buttermilk. Drain briefly to remove excess buttermilk. In a zip-top bag, combine the cornmeal, Creole seasoning and salt. Add the drained shrimp to the bag and shake to coat the shrimp evenly with the cornmeal mixture.
Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from oven. Drizzle with the oil. Remove the shrimp from the bag, shaking off any excess cornmeal mixture. Arrange the shrimp evenly spaced on the hot pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn the shrimp and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until done. The shrimp should feel slightly firm to the touch.
While the shrimp are cooking, prepare the bread. Cut the baguette or loaf in half and remove the excess interior of the bread. You don’t have to remove the interior part, but I think it makes it a lot easier to keep the filling inside if you do.
Spread the bottom half with half of the remoulade. Top with lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Place the cooked shrimp on top of the tomatoes and top with the remaining remoulade and the other half of the baguette.
Other “Po’ Boy” recipes you might enjoy:
- Emeril Lagasse’s Classic Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy from The Food Network
- Softshell Crab Po’ Boy from Carla’s Tasty Treats
- Oyster Po’ Boy from Sweet Paul Magazine
- Shrimp Po Boys with Creamy Cajun Sauce from Favorite Family Recipes
- Fried Oyster Po’ Boy Sandwich from The Egg Farm
- Jacques Gaspard’s Sliced Beef Roast Po’ Boy Sandwich from Real Cajun Cooking – Pure and Simple