There's nothing like a shrimp po'boy to transport you to New Orleans. But you don't have to go all the way to the Big Easy to get a taste of this iconic sandwich. It's easier than you think. Simply marinate shrimp in hot sauce, bread and fry them, then pile them onto a French roll with lettuce, tomato and hot sauce-laced mayo. It's the perfect seafood sandwich to kick off your summer.
One key point to remember is that crispy shrimp are crucial to a great po'boy (nobody likes soggy shramp). To get the right texture, temperature is key. Once your oil is hot enough, fry the shrimp in batches, making sure to not crowd the pot. Then, in between batches, pause to let the oil get hot again. Otherwise, you run the risk of overcooked and rubbery shrimp by the time they are golden in color. Perfect this simple frying technique, and you're as golden as your shrimp.
To learn more, read "Let's Hear It for the 'Boy."
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 2 sandwiches
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time
1 pound medium peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup Crystal hot sauce, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup mayonnaise
Vegetable oil, for frying
Two 10-inch po'boy rolls or French hero rolls, halved lengthwise
1 beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tablespoons thinly sliced cornichons, for garnish
1. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp in the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce and ½ tablespoon of the salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ tablespoon of salt with the flour, cornmeal, cayenne, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and pepper, and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce with the mayonnaise until smooth, and set aside.
4. In a medium Dutch oven, heat 2 inches of oil to 350° and line a plate with paper towels. Drain the shrimp well before tossing them in the flour mixture to coat well.
5. Working in batches, fry the shrimp until golden brown and cooked through, 1 minute. Using a metal spider, transfer the shrimp to the prepared plate to drain, immediately seasoning with salt. Let the oil return to temperature between batches.
6. Spread the mayonnaise mixture on both halves of the rolls. On the bottom halves, divide the fried shrimp, top with the sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sliced cornichons. Affix the top halves, then slice in half and serve.