If you've never had an iconic Louisiana po' boy, this fried shrimp version is a great place to start. Dressed with crunchy shredded iceburg, juicy tomatoes, and a creamy and briny remoulade sauce, this imposing sandwich will take you to the fern and Spanish moss-lined streets of NOLA in seconds flat.
As legend goes, the po’ boy, or “poor boy”, sandwich originated during the streetcar worker strike of 1929 in New Orleans. Two brothers, Bennie and Clovis Martin, former streetcar workers themselves, owned a cafe/ restaurant and pledged to give the striking carmen free meals for the duration of the strike. They worked with the bakery supplying their bread to create a loaf that was longer and wider than the standard French baguettes and loaves that taper off at the end. They came up with something they could cheaply make many sandwiches out of, and the po’ boy we know today was born!
Outside of Louisiana and states surrounding it, that infamous po' boy bread can be hard to come by. If you can't find any, you'll want to seek out something as close to its light, air texture and thin, crispy crust, like a French hero, baguette, or ciabatta. You could even make your own!
Don’t sleep on the remoulade! Its particular combo of flavors is imperative to the deliciousness of a po’ boy. Pickle hater? Skip it, or add a few minced capers instead.
Peanut oil will get your shrimp SUPER crispy, but it's a little pricier and harder to find than veggie oil. Either will work for this recipe!
Louisiana-made Crystal Hot Sauce is a natural pairing for this sandwich — keep a bottle on the table for spice-lovers to add their own.
Made this? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!
small dill pickle, finely minced
Freshly ground black pepper
medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
kosher salt, plus more for seasoning shrimp
freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
to 1/2 tsp ground cayenne, depending on spice preference
hot sauce, such as Crystal (optional)
(or about 3 cups) peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
loaves po' boy bread or large French hero, halved lengthwise
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Thinly sliced tomato
- Make remoulade: combine all remoulade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate while preparing the rest of the sandwich.
- Pat shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, flour, and hot sauce if using. Whisk until smooth.
- Place cornmeal in another large bowl, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add shrimp to bowl with buttermilk mixture and toss until shrimp are completely coated. Working one at a time, remove shrimp from bowl, allowing excess batter to drip off, then place in bowl with cornmeal. Toss until shrimp is completely coated in cornmeal, then transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all shrimp are breaded.
- Add oil to a medium, heavy-bottomed pot (the oil should be at least 3” deep, and no higher than halfway up the pan) over medium heat, using a thermometer to track the temperature of the oil. When it reaches 350°, add a quarter of the shrimp and fry until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt immediately. Continue process until all shrimp are fried.
- Build sandwiches: spread both cut sides of each hero with remoulade. Divide shrimp between the two, then top with iceberg and tomato.