Fish and shrimp po’boy

Nostalgia can take our minds wandering at the most unexpected moments. Last week I couldn’t get po’boys (or poor boys) off my mind as I reminisced about balmy autumn days spent wandering the streets of New Orleans.

A po’boy, for those who haven’t travelled to Louisiana, is traditional Southern comfort food – a French bread roll filled with deep fried catfish, shrimp, oysters etc and topped off with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickles and mayonnaise. Of the many that I ate while in New Orleans, it was their consistent simplicity that won me over. But for the best in town, I couldn’t go past Parkway Bakery & Tavern. We were taken by my boyfriend’s family who insisted we couldn’t leave NO without a Parkway po’boy and I am so thankful that we didn’t. The soft, slightly chewy bread, the perfectly golden fried shrimp (or prawn, when I am speaking with Australians), crisp iceberg lettuce….well, let’s just say our conversation was forgotten when the food arrived.

So here’s my version – and I should probably explain that my boyfriend was generous enough to let me catch the first fish from his aquaponics system to use as the filling, accompanied by a few store bought shrimp (prawns). The fish we used, Silver Perch, has taken more than two years to mature and it was worth the wait. Thanks babe – you grow a good fish.

So while my po’boy recipe may not be as amazing as the infamous Parkway Bakery, I sure am glad we attempted it anyway, because for ten short minutes I was transported to the vibrant, jazz filled streets of New Orleans.

Perfect for an easy feast with friends – only to be paired with ice cold beers. Oh, and excuse my rushed photos, the hunger pains couldn’t wait for photo finessing…

Serves 2

Fish and shrimp po'boy

Fish and shrimp po’boy

The list:

2 fillets Silver Perch, or any firm white fish suitable to deep fry (skin removed)
12 prawns, shelled and deveined
1 cup plain flour
2 Tbs corn flour
1 Tbs salt
3 Tbs Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning, or any brand Cajun seasoning to substitute
2 eggs
2 Tbs milk
Vegetable oil
1 vine ripened tomato, sliced
2 handfuls iceberg lettuce, shredded
3 dill pickles, sliced
1 large French bread stick (not a baguette – the thicker, softer long roll), cut into roughly 20cm lengths, or two French bread rolls
Favourite condiments, i.e. mayonnaise, tomato sauce/ketchup, tartar sauce, mustard

The method:

  1. In a bowl, lightly whisk together eggs and milk.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, corn flour, salt, Cajun seasoning and mix to combine.
  3. With one hand, dip the seafood into the egg mixture and then with the other hand into the flour mixture, ensuring seafood is well coated. Put onto a clean plate until ready to fry.
  4. Heat 3-4cm deep of vegetable oil in a saucepan until it reaches boiling temperature (dip the end of a wooden spoon in the oil, if it bubbles, the oil is hot enough to deep fry). Gently drop the fish into the oil and fry for 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted metal spoon and drain on kitchen paper towel. Repeat process for the prawns in small batches until all the seafood is cooked. Prawns may only need 1 minute to cook, depending on size.
  5. To prepare po’boys, cut bread lengthways and layer fish, prawns, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles, then top with your favourite sauce.

Enjoy!

The first fish caught from our backyard aquaponic system

The first fish caught from our backyard aquaponic system

One of my favourite foodie memories from my US travels is the po'boy

One of my favourite foodie memories from my US travels is the po’boy

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