Your lunchtime ham and cheese sandwich needs a serious upgrade. Next time you are in the mood for a great sandwich, why not whip up a classic shrimp po-boy? Crusty French bread, a swipe of mayonnaise, and some freshly cooked shrimp are all you really need to make the best sandwich you’ve had in a while.
What is a Po Boy?
The po-boy, short for "poor boy," originated in New Orleans during the 1920s. Its creation is closely tied to a significant labor strike by streetcar workers, the Martin Brothers, and their restaurant's unwavering support for the cause. It’s said that when the streetcar workers went on strike, the Martin Brothers (former streetcar conductors themselves) provided free sandwiches to the striking workers. These sandwiches, known as "poor boy" sandwiches, quickly gained popularity for their hearty and affordable nature.
As the legend goes, whenever a worker came into the Martin Brothers' eatery, the cry "here comes another poor boy" would signal the preparation of yet another sandwich. The po-boy became a symbol of solidarity during the strike and, eventually, a beloved staple in the city's culinary scene.
They were traditionally filled with potato fries, but nowadays in New Orleans, you can find a po boy with just about anything stuffed inside. Shrimp po boys have become a staple in the city, and a pillar of our culture’s cuisine.
How to Make a Shrimp Po Boy
Start with light, crusty French bread. It you can't get your hands on a Dong Phuong or Leidenheimer loaf, any baguette, pistolette or French roll will do. Once you've secured your bread, it's time to "dress" your po-boy. Adding lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickles is the standard approach - but any of your favorite fixings are allowed.
Now, let's talk about the star of the show – the shrimp. Top your po boy with either Signature Seasoned or Louisiana Shrimp Boil Prime Shrimp, splash with hot sauce to taste and enjoy. This New Orleans classic is best paired with your favorite chips -- we’re partial to Zapp's for their Nola roots.
Pro-tip: Kick up your preferred mayo by mixing with a spoonful or two of the flavorful broth that develops in the pouch as the shrimp cooks.