About two weeks ago John and I went a whole work day without talking about food. Yes, that’s so rare for us that it stands out in history. And I should have been skeptical all along. It did cross my mind, some time around lunch, that we hadn’t nailed down a dinner plan for that night. Such uncertainty makes me nervous, but I was busy that day and forced to move on without texting John about it. Sure enough, when I walked in the door that night, he sprung a classic John-plan on me: we’re deep frying shrimp po’ boys for dinner. Oy.
I generally avoid deep frying at home for a myriad of reasons. It’s terrible for you. It stinks up the house – for days. It wastes a TON of oil. Did I mention it’s terrible for you? John, on the other hand, generally likes deep frying. If he’ll never get to live out the dream of owning a bar, or even living above one ala the cast of “How I Met Your Mother,” he’d at least like to turn our kitchen into short-order heaven. And so, when I’m least expecting it, he goes out, researches recipes and buys all the ingredients before I have time to blink, not to mention protest. And sometimes, just sometimes, I’m so glad he did.
These are po’ boys. Like real, honest to goodness po’ boys. Soft bread, crispy shrimp, AMAZING sauce. And we made them in our very own kitchen. Yes, said kitchen smelled like a fast food joint for a day or two, but honestly, I wasn’t even mad. Because sometimes it’s worth it.
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp pickle juice (just the stuff from the jar of pickles – sounds weird but it’s what makes the sauce perfect)
- 1/2 tsp horseradish
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp hot smoked paprika
- dash of hot sauce
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying (we put a little Crisco in there too, just to be naughty)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal (we used stone ground, but I actually wouldn’t recommend it – a little too crunchy, go with a normal fine grind)
- 3 Tbsp Cajun seasoning blend, divided
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups of peeled and deveined shrimp – ideally smallish ones
- long loaf of French bread, enough for 4, 6-8 inch long sandwiches (we used hearty sausage rolls because John claims the only loaf of French bread at the store was no less than 3 feet long…)
- lettuce, shredded
- tomatoes, chopped
- pickle slices
- To make remoulade sauce, combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve sandwiches.
- To fry shrimp, heat oil in a large sauce pan to 360 degrees (use a candy thermometer).
- While oil is heating, batter shrimp: Place flour and half of the Cajun seasoning in one shallow bowl. Place corn meal and the remaining Cajun seasoning in another shallow bowl. Whisk together eggs and water in a third bowl. Batter shrimp by dipping them in flour, then egg, then cornmeal, shaking between each step to remove excess.
- Fry shrimp in batches, for about 2 minutes per batch. Allow cooked shrimp to drain on paper towel lined plates.
- To assemble sandwiches, slice bread almost all the way through, so that it is still hinged. Spread some of the remoulade sauce on the buns. Fill with shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Drizzle with more remoulade sauce.
Note: If deep frying just isn’t your style, other viable options for the shrimp include battering and pan frying them, rather than deep frying. Or you could skip battering altogether and just sprinkle them with Cajun seasoning and grill or saute them.