I’m a big fan of fried shrimp from way back. Growing up in eastern North Carolina, I had a lot of opportunity to try a lot of different types of seafood, but I always went back to fried shrimp. So, it only makes sense that I’d also be a big fan of fried shrimp po’boys.
Some stories tell that brothers, Benny and Clovis Martin, invented the po’boy in New Orleans in 1929 to feed striking streetcar operators. But like a good remoulade sauce (we’ll get to this later) the true history might be a bit spicy. An article from Nola.com details “The messy history of the po’boy.”
This article finds that Benny and Clovis were selling versions of the sandwich way before the strikes. There’s even evidence of oyster sandwiches that were similar to the modern po’boy existing back in the 1850’s. It seems that Benny and Clovis really should just get credit for the name of the sandwich and not actually inventing the sandwich itself. But enough history let’s talk about how I make my fried shrimp po’boys.
Just going to get things out there and state that the shrimp po’boy I’m describing/making in this blog post isn’t necessarily a traditional fried shrimp po’boy. But it’s a good one.
Most po’boys contain lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise and then you have a choice from many different protein selections. Anything from roast beef or sliced turkey to fried or grilled seafood could be po’boy options. We make ours with a homemade remoulade sauce instead of just plain mayonnaise, but feel free to go more traditional if you want. I also have based my fried shrimp recipe on a recipe like I grew up eating in eastern North Carolina, although most shrimp po’boy frying methods are similar.
When we make shrimp po’boys, we need shrimp and we need bread. Most everything else can be sourced at your grocery store, but let’s get down to business.
The Americanized French sub roll
Traditionally, po’boys are served on French style bread, but we’re not talking about real French baguettes here. Po’boys require Americanized French bread. It’s soft on the inside and a bit crusty on the outside.
This style of bread is also often a bit wider than a real French baguette which makes it much better for the type of sandwich that a po’boy is.
My sub sandwich roll is based off a NOLA inspired bread dough recipe and works great in this application.
A tip about this recipe though is that the first day you bake, these rolls are soft and fresh. They might not actually taste as much like what you’re expecting until the second or third day after you bake them. My guess is that this is how the real bakery bread is too, but we’re not typically eating this type of bread on the very first day that it is baked.
That’s a big benefit in my opinion in that you’re going to have good bread for three or four days after you bake it. This bread also freezes well. Wrap a loaf up in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze it for a few weeks if you want. Pull it out of the freezer first thing in the morning and it should be ready for sandwiching by lunch.
Remoulade is fantastic. It’s the combination of many different sandwich sauces, adding creaminess and tart and tangy flavors which complement and contrast the flavors in most sandwiches. A traditional po’boy uses mayonnaise and that’s great too, but this remoulade sauce simply adds a burst of flavor.
This remoulade sauce is a great dip for onion rings or french fries as well. It also works well on any deli style sandwich in place of mayonnaise and mustard.
Fried shrimp po’boy
Let’s make these po’boys. Slice up some tomatoes, shred up some lettuce, grab some pickles and let’s make some sandwiches.
The best fried shrimp sandwich you'll have today! 100% money back guaranteed. Tasty fried shrimp with crisp vegetables, tangy, creamy sauce all in a soft but still slightly crunchy roll leaves you in in po'boy town perfection.
- 1 pound large or medium sized shrimp (peeled and deveined - tails removed)
- 1 large egg
- 1⁄2 cup whole milk
- 2⁄3 cup self-rising flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- peanut oil for frying (enough for 3 inches up your medium pan)
Peel and devein your shrimp unless you got someone else to do it. I like to dry them off with paper towels after they're peeled.
Add a whole egg and half a cup of whole milk (can use 2% or skim if that's what you have) to a medium sized bowl or shallow dish. Whisk the egg and milk together to combine fully.
In another medium sized bowl or dish add, flour, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine fully.
Line a sheet pan with parchment for your shrimp to rest on prior to frying.
Fill a medium pan with 3 inches of peanut or vegetable oil. Place pan over medium high heat. If you have a thermometer, you're trying to get the oil to 375 degrees F (190 C).
In batches of four or five shrimp, add them to the egg/milk mixture and make sure each shrimp is fully coated. Then move them to the seasoned flour and again, make sure every bit of shrimp is coated in flour. Finally move the shrimp to rest on the parchment. Try not to let the shrimp touch or crowd each other.
Once all your shrimp are coated and resting on the parchment, check on the temperature of your oil. If you have a thermometer, you should be able to tell exactly. If you don't own a thermometer, you can sprinkle a little flour into the oil and if the oil starts bubbling aggressively when you put the flour in, it probably is ready.
Fry your shrimp in batches, trying not to crowd the pan. You'll want to fry each shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes, until they reach the level of browning that you like. You might want to let the oil rise in temperature between batches if it drops too much.
Once each shrimp is nice and tan or light brown, remove it from the oil to a paper towel lined sheet pan to rest. If you want to add salt or other seasonings, now is the time to add it.
Once all your shrimp are cooked it's time to assemble the sandwiches.
Slice your French bread two thirds of the way through to create a hinge.
Add your remoulade or mayonnaise to the bottom part of the bread, cover that with shredded lettuce, a couple of slices of tomato and a few pickles.
Top all the veggies with 6 or 7 shrimp and add sauce to the top of the bread if you desire. Close the bread and serve your po'boy sandwiches.
Po’boys are easy to make at home. The crunch of the shrimp, mixed with the tang of the remoulade and the texture from the veggies are enough to keep you coming back for bite after bite. The chew of the bread also is incorporated into the fantastic texture and experience of this sandwich.
Bake some bread, fry some shrimp and you’re in business.
See you next week when maybe I’ll let you join my Club.