Every year we used to pile in the car at 6 a.m. on a July morning, slip in the Willie Nelson CD (On the Road Again which still makes everyone feel carsick) and head somewhere cool. Like spokes on a wheel, our vacation would take us south to to the beach, north to Colorado and, most frequently, west to New Mexico.
This year right after the Fourth, we had a one-week window after Lizzy got home from Paris and before John moves to Budapest. We needed to do something fun, to create a memory before the family scatters again. That meant a road trip to New Orleans!
So just like 1995 (Well, not quite. Nobody would let me play Willie), we woke up early, packed the ice chest and headed east. Three hours later we turned south at Shreveport and voila! we were in Creole country. We passed plantations and bayous, levees and towns named Ville Platte, Mamou and Eunice.
At Lafayette, we needed a break. (By the way, you know it’s called “laugh- i-ette,” don’t you?) The town, booming because of the oil industry, has a quirky Cajun, Austin-type vibe with several trendy restaurants. We bypassed those, though, and went straight to Olde Tyme Grocery whose specialty is Po’Boys. We were definitely in south Louisiana.
Neither of the sandwiches – fried shrimp or fried oyster- lasted long past this picture.
And since po boys are quintessentially New Orleans, we had to make them when we got home. Here’s a recipe which captures the best of the sandwich. Use the more finely ground corn flour, if you can. It makes a light, yet crunchy crust. Pure N’Awlins! Try it with a cold Barq’s and a big bag of Zapp’s.
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, parsley or oregano
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups yellow corn flour (preferable) or corn meal
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large loaf French bread
- 1/3 cup Remoulade (prepared or homemade)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- 1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, dried herbs, flour and corn flour (or corn meal).
- Dredge the shrimp first in the buttermilk, then in the seasoned flour mixture, coating the shrimp completely.
- Fry the shrimp in the hot oil, in batches if necessary, until golden brown about 3 minutes each side. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate.
- In a small bowl, combine the Remoulade, mayonnaise and tabasco.
- Split the French bread in half lengthwise, hollowing out the middle if the loaf is very thick. Place the hot shrimp on the bottom piece of bread and garnish with lettuce and tomato.
- Spread the top piece of bread with the Remoulade mixture and place on sandwich.
- Cut into 4 servings.