Shrimp Po’ Boy

When pondering ideas for our fall lunch menu, we wanted to step into po’ boy territory a bit, it’s something to which we’ve given a lot of thought, and peacemakers have been top sellers the one time of year we have traditionally offered po’ boys, Mardi Gras. Po’ Boys are such an iconic and historically important food in New Orleans since their beginning during a railcar strike in the 1920’s that I’ve sort of decided it’s a shame we never have them available.

The bread is very important, and we’ve selected a lean, fluffy bread with a crackly crust, the closest we’ve found in Chicago. It’s a tough prospect because Nola’s French bread evolved in a hot, humid climate that impressed on the loaf a high risk of overproofing, and bakers there increased gluten in the dough to stand up to a faster, higher rise. That’s a tough texture to match, but by selecting a bread made from a poolish starter and high gluten flour, we think we have a loaf that is true to the sandwiches roots and keeps the spirit alive.

The shrimp are breaded in a traditional Cajun fry dredge – about half each corn and rice flours, and seasoned high with cayenne. They’re flash fried until crisp on the outside and toothsome but tender inside. It’s a fine line. Presentation-wise, we’re going with the new po’ boy phenomenon where restaurants in Nola are adding artisinal ingredients and getting more creative with their fillings. We’re not too far off from tradition here and well within keeping with the new po’ boy, dressing with lots of butter lettuce, even more remoulade, and a generous sprinkling of piccalilli for sweetness and acidity.

The shrimp po’ boy is available Monday-Friday from 11 am – 4 p.m., and like any true po’ boy, could easily feed two.