Pan-Fried Shrimp Po’ Boys
Posted on February 21, 2017
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.
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
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
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.
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