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Pan-Fried Shrimp Po’ Boys

Mardi Gras is just around the corner, but even if you aren’t able to be in the Big Easy to partake in the rollicking festivities, you can always enjoy a sampling of Cajun and Creole flavors at home. Whether it’s making classic celebratory dishes such as jambalaya, shrimp étouffée, gumbo and king cake, or preparing humbler fare like red beans and rice, so many delectable choices abound. After all, it’s not called Fat Tuesday for nothing!

But, if you’re not up for an hours-long cooking session or hiding a little plastic baby in a cake, not to worry. There are other options. One staple that requires less of a time commitment in the kitchen but is just as satisfying is the po’ boy (also spelled as po boy or po-boy, depending on where you look). It’s light enough for lunch but still satisfying—and won’t make you feel trodden with lethargy like some other rich, stewed dishes will. Although this New Orleans staple is typically associated with fried seafood and roast beef, in truth, the sandwich can be filled with just about anything. The key is choosing the proper crusty French bread (no soft and squishy rolls allowed), making sure there’s a swipe or two of remoulade, and having sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce included for moisture and crunch.

Pan-fried shrimp po' boys

The recipe that follows focuses on shrimp po’ boy, one of the most popular varieties of the sandwich. Because there are not a whole lot of components in it, the main goal was to pare down the remoulade and to lighten up the primary ingredient—the shrimp. Traditionally, the crustaceans are breaded and deep-fried to crunchy finish. To avoid having to work with a big pot of hot oil and to make the sandwich less unhealthy, a seasoned cornmeal coating is used to dredge the shrimp in and pan-frying takes the place of deep-frying.

The result? A healthier, simplified version of the Crescent City sandwich that takes some of the “fat” out of Fat Tuesday and replaces it with something just as delicious. 

Pan-Seared Shrimp Po’ Boys

When purchasing shrimp, look for the count size for accuracy rather than descriptors such as small, medium, large, extra-large, or jumbo, which are not standardized. The count size denotes the number of shrimp in one pound.

Ingredients

French bread rolls

4 Tbs. mayonnaise

2 Tbs. ketchup

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. finely chopped capers

1/2 tsp. hot sauce, or to taste

1 Tbs. finely chopped scallion

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 lb. 21/25 count shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 French bread rolls, split horizontally and toasted

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1 beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced

8 thin slices red onion

Cooking Instructions

Oil poured into skillet

1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, capers, hot sauce and scallion. Set aside.

2. In a pie plate or shallow bowl, whisk together the salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and cornmeal. Working a few pieces of shrimp at a time, coat the shrimp on both sides in the spiced cornmeal mixture. Transfer to a plate.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate.

4. Spread about 1 Tbs. sauce on each cut surface of the rolls. Layer the lettuce, tomato, onion and shrimp on the bottom half of each roll. Cover with the top half of the rolls. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Comments

5:32 PM on February 21, 2017 Logan Scott
my grand kids are picky and dont like sea food too much but I think they will like this!
12:36 PM on February 24, 2017 Jenna Fitzgerald
Po boys are my favorite! I'll have to try this recipe out!
12:31 PM on March 2, 2017 Nora Garrison
I'm always looking for healthier options, this is a nice twist...Good tip on looking for the shrimp count too!
12:40 PM on March 3, 2017 Darrel Lebowitz
I never tried making my own po boy. Thanks for the easy recipe
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