The Absolute Best Bread For Shrimp Po Boy Sandwiches

Fillings, such as cold cuts, meats, and other proteins, may get top billing. Vegetables, pickles, and relishes certainly add crunch, moisture, acidity, and more. Mayonnaise, mustard, and other condiments and spreads boost flavor and richness. However, any serious sandwich partisan will tell you that a great sandwich comes down to the bread. What's a New York City pastrami or corned beef sandwich without good rye bread or a Cubano without a crunchy, fluffy, slightly-sweet Cuban roll?

The same goes for New Orleans' most famous sandwich, the po'boy. Available with a variety of fillings, from roast beef to sausage to fried oysters, its most identifiable iteration is with fried shrimp, usually pulled from the Gulf of Mexico. What remains the same regardless of what's inside is the bread, which should have a sturdy, crunchy crust for stability, but a light and airy crumb that doesn't overshadow the shrimp and other fixings.

If you're in New Orleans, the bread of choice is a French-style roll from the storied Leidenheimer Bakery, per Southern Living. It has a pronounced crispy crunch and a fluffy interior, but a serious deadline. These rolls do not age well, which is why you see Leidenheimer trucks rolling across the Big Easy delivering fresh-baked bread every day. If you aren't in New Orleans, take a tip from Crescent City and go French with a baguette.

Pain français

Baguettes make a delightful canvas for a shrimp po'boy. These long French loaves have a light blond, crunchy exterior that gives way to an airy interior that can be stacked with firm, fried shrimp. Best of all, the baguette is imminently available — most grocery stores and bakeries offer loaves baked fresh, and some even make demi baguettes. These half-sized versions are great for making sandwiches when you don't want to commit to a whole loaf. They're also not terribly difficult to make, though you may find yourself becoming a bit of a baking fanatic. This inevitably leads to tweaking and perfecting recipes for bread and other baked goods.

When it comes to assembling your sandwich, shrimp are relatively easy to bread and fry — just remember to season properly and don't skimp on the spice. Shredded lettuce and tomato are de rigueur for a po'boy, and while mayonnaise is a common topping, you can step it up with Cajun remoulade. An American riff on a classic European sauce, remoulade combines mayo with your favorite hot sauce, Dijon mustard, and diced cornichon, but you can customize however you'd like.

If you have a leftover baguette, don't feel beholden to make more po'boys. With some caramelized onions, beef stock, and Gruyère, you can make French onion soup.