Recipe: Shrimp and Avocado Po’ Boys
Whenever I see a seafood po’ boy on a restaurant menu, I’m usually tempted to order it because I’m such a fan of the combination of crispy fried seafood, cool lettuce, and creamy mayo on a soft roll. A deep-fried po’ boy is not usually something I’d attempt in my own kitchen, but this version of it — with quickly sautéed shrimp — is easy enough to throw together on a busy weeknight.
To make sure there’s still plenty of flavor in the shrimp, I sprinkle it with classic Old Bay Seasoning before sautéing it on the stovetop. Take care to buy really good-quality shrimp, as this usually means the shrimp are juicy and stay nice and firm. I’ve found that lower-quality shrimp tend to be very waterlogged and mushy when cooked.
Opt for a soft French sandwich roll — any really crusty bread is just a tad too crunchy for this sandwich. And while of course 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, as I feel its clean crispness is a key ingredient in po’ boys.
Serve this sandwich as a hearty lunch or an easy dinner when paired with some salty potato chips and an ice-cold beer!
Sautéed Shrimp Po’ Boys
Makes 4 sandwiches
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
Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a medium bowl. Add the 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 cut side of the bottom half of the rolls. Spread the mayonnaise on the cut side of 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 of the rolls and cut each in half if desired. Serve with more hot sauce.