Recipe: Lighter Southern Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwiches[Ad] My first every Southern-style Po’ Boy Sandwich was a deep disappointment. It was the first one I’d come across on the menu after I’d seen Anthony Bourdain wax lyrical about them on No Reservations. I was brunching at The Commissary, just having checked into The Line hotel in Los Angeles, and the sandwich I was served, traditionally stuffed with a mountain of deep fried shrimp, special sauce and shredded lettuce, with a kosher pickle on the side. God it was greasy, and I sat there for a while, wondering if the sandwich has simply been over hyped. After all, I was ordering ‘American’ food from somewhere other than California, where I had years since fell in love with the fresh, bright and healthy, Asian/ Mexican fusion, produce heavy diet.
But later on, I did some research into what constitutes a po’ boy sandwich. Served on a baguette like, local Louisina bread it can contain any meat, from roast beef to shrimp, and the shrimp/ prawns don’t have to be fried. The sandwich also traditionally contains a combo of Romaine lettuce, tomato slices and mayonnaise. Pickles and melted butter also usually appear in the deep fried versions. None of this sounds bad. I came to the conclusion that a) I probably had a bad one, and b) that I could probably make a delicious, lighter version.
To add a spicy kick to my shrimp, again I have teamed up with Mahi Fine Foods (have you tried my ‘Cheeky’ Peri Peri Chicken Burger made with their Peri Peri sauces, yet?) and their seriously hot Bhut Jolokia hot sauce (you can find it in Sainsbury’s). It adds that perfect Southern heat without having to resort to a thinner hot sauce like Tabasco, or something of an Asian persuasion. A handy one to keep in your fridge.
I tried making the sandwich with baguette bread, but I found that the bread we get here is just too crisp and the sandwich just falls apart, so I’ve switched it out for seeded sub rolls. Baby gem lettuce is easier to get in British supermarkets so that is what I’ve used here (but feel free to use either, thinly shredded), and I’ve gone for Japanese Kewpie mayo, as it has become my default and is super delicious here. The tomatoes have stayed, and while my shrimp are not deep fried, I love kosher/ hamburger pickles too much not to include a few, long slices. The measurements below will make one sandwich. Scale up for however many people you’re serving, and be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand!
- 1 tsp Cajun Spice Mix
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/2 tsp Mahi Fine Foods Bhut Jolokia Hot Sauce
- 1 tsp Light Oil
- Handful Raw King Prawns
- Large Seeded Sub Roll, split down the middle
- Kewpie Mayonnaise
- 3-4 Tomato Slices
- 1 Kosher / Hamburger Pickle, thinly sliced
- Small Handful Shredded Baby Gem or Romaine Lettuce
Combine the Cajun spice, the paprika, the thyme, hot sauce and the light oil (any light, barely flavoured/ flavourless oil will do) to make a paste. Stir in the prawns until they are well coated. Prepare the rest of the sandwich ingredients, and spread a thin layer of mayonnaise across the bottom of the bun. Layer in the lettuce, pickles then the tomato slices. Heat a small frying pan over a high heat and when it is smoking add the prawns. Cook until pink on one side, then turn them over and cook until just pink through. Pile onto the sandwich, then finish with more mayonnaise. Enjoy straight away.
If you’re after a bit more spice to brighten up these chilly, January days why not try my Homemade Chicken Fajitas, One Pot Leftover Sausage & Prawn Jambalaya, Weekend Piri Piri Wings with Caramelized Garlic Yogurt, Easy Coconut Kedgeree, Indian Spiced Potato Wraps with Easy Raita & Spicy Slaw, Quick Curried Salmon with Cauliflower Tabbouleh, Mexican Roast Chicken with Pumpkin & Pesto, Honey Spiced Chicken with Indian-style Veggies, a Mexican Roasted Sweet Potato, Radish & Tomato Bowl, or some Hangover Chilaquiles?
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