I spent many of my high school years working as a “Sandwich Artist”, which made me hate ALL SANDWICHES FOREVER.
Well, all sandwiches from places like *that*. ‘Til this day that smell of bread baking and sliced bell peppers makes me dry heave. I literally dry heave everytime I walk past one of “their” establishments. They’re on some Voldemort shit for me now – “he who shall not be named”. My time there did teach me a few things though – like the importance of bread to meat ratio, and how simple, high quality ingredients will beat a meat-piled-high sammich any day of the week.
I decided it was time to elevate my sandwich game by baking my own bread. This is my first journey into homemade bread, so my finished product looks a little… ahem… special. lol But it was DEEELICIOUS nonetheless. Bread really does make a sandwich, and the certain kinds of sandwiches need certain kinds of bread, so I decided I would make a homemade New Orleans style french bread for a po’ boy. My good friend Kevan sent me this delicious Slap Ya Mama Cajun Fish Fry and I’ve been looking for every excuse everywhere to use it. A shrimp po’ boy seemed to be the next logical choice.
BTW, this is a 10 minute meal if you buy the bread. It’s a ~5 hour meal if you make it yourself (but most of that is inactive time, waiting for the bread to rise).
Let’s start with the foundation. The base. The Magic. THE BREAD.
While the bread is cooling, let’s prep the rest of the sandwich.
Let’s put it all together now!
Shrimp Po’ Boy with Homemade French Bread
adapted from Saveur
makes 2 large po’ boys in about what seems like forever when waiting for bread to rise (~10 minutes if you buy bread, ~5 hours if you make the bread)
for the bread
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/4-oz. package active dry yeast
1 tbsp. vegetable shortening
3 cups bread flour
1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
for the shrimp
for the bread
Place 1/2 tbsp. sugar, yeast, and 1 cup of warm (not hot!) water heated to in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar and shortening, and then add flour and salt. Mix on low speed until dough forms. Remove from mixer bowl and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place back into the mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Uncover dough and transfer to a floured work surface; knead briefly to form a ball. Divide dough into half and shape each half into a 16″-long thick rope. Place both ropes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until doubled in size, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Heat oven to 375°. Using a sharp knife or cutting blade, slash a long line down the middle of each loaf. Spritz bread with a little water (this helps create that crispy crust) and bake loaves until light brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. While the bread is cooling, prepare the shrimp.
for the shrimp
Dredge rinsed shrimp in Slap Ya Mama Cajun Fish Fry, or your favorite cornmeal-based seasoning (see notes for suggestions). Fry shrimp in hot oil (place a wooden chopstick in the oil – if the bubbles are steady around the chopstick, it’s ready) until golden brown. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
put it all together
Split the cooled bread lengthwise. Apply a layer of mayonnaise to each cut side, followed by a few sprinkles of hot sauce. Apply a layer of mustard to one side, and top with lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
Top with hot shrimp.
Fold in half.
Don’t share. Eat it all. Okay share a bite. But eat the rest.
If you can’t get your hands on Slap Ya Mama Cajun Fish Fry, try this as your dredge instead:
1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne (according to your spiciness likes)
3 tbsp your favorite Cajun seasoning / seasoned salt