Whenever I see a seafood po'boy on a menu, I’m tempted to order it. I’m such a fan of the combination of crispy fried seafood, cool lettuce and creamy mayo on a soft roll. A po’boy with deep-fried fish is not usually something I’d attempt in my own kitchen, but this version – with quickly sauteed shrimp – is easy enough to throw together on a weeknight.
To make sure there’s still plenty of flavor in the shrimp, I sprinkle it with classic Old Bay Seasoning before sauteing it. Try to buy good-quality shrimp, so they’ll be juicy and stay firm. Lower-quality shrimp tend to be waterlogged and mushy when cooked.
Opt for a soft French sandwich roll – crusty bread is just a tad too crunchy for this sandwich. And while there’s the requisite schmear of mayonnaise, this po'boy rebels a little bit by also having a creamy avocado spread flavored with tangy hot sauce. I didn’t dare omit the shredded iceberg lettuce, though. Its clean crispness is a key ingredient in po'boys.
Serve this as a hearty lunch or an easy dinner paired with some salty potato chips and an ice-cold beer.
Sauteed Shrimp Po'boys
1 medium avocado
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco or Crystal hot sauce, plus more for serving
4 (6- to 7-inch-long) soft French sandwich rolls, split lengthwise
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 pounds uncooked large shrimp (21- to 25-count), peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
Slice the avocado, remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Add mustard and 1 teaspoon hot sauce. Season with salt, and smash with the back of a fork until evenly combined and just slightly chunky. Taste and season with more hot sauce or salt as needed; set aside.
Toast the rolls. Spread the avocado mixture on the bottom half of the rolls. Spread the mayonnaise on the top half of the rolls.
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Add the Old Bay, season with salt, and toss to combine. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shrimp in an even layer and cook, stirring rarely, until pink, opaque and just cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Divide the shrimp over the bottom halves of the rolls, and top with the lettuce. Close the sandwiches with the top halves and cut each in half if desired. Serve with more hot sauce.
Yield: 4 servings.