Grilled Shrimp and Bacon Po’ Boy with Homemade Tartar Sauce
Have you ever left the movie theater so affected by a film? Perhaps it spoke to you through all of its familiar similarities? That is what happened to me when I watched the incredible film “Chef” by Jon Favreau (which I highly recommend). The Andouille Sausage Po’ Boy scene really made my mouth water, and right then and there I decided I wanted to prepare my own version.
A Po’Boy (Poor Boy) is a style of sandwich popular in Louisiana and several other States in the deep south bordering the Gulf of Mexico. There are different versions depending on where you get them, but in my opinion, the best of all come from New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The main reason for this are ingredients of course. Since a Po’ Boy is similar to a Submarine sandwich or a Vietnamese Banh Mi, the bread is super important. Po’ Boys are built on a French bread with a very crispy and flaky crust and extra soft white interior. My favorite Po’ Boy has always been with cornmeal battered fried oysters, dressed simply with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a flaky baguette.
I have yet to find a good source for great fresh oysters in Manila (if you know such a place, please let me know in the comments below) so I decided to go with shrimp. Typical Shrimp Po’ Boy’s are covered with small fried shrimp. The shrimp in the Philippines are fresh and much cheaper than in the States so I decided to grill up some giant prawns for this project.
I dusted the huge shrimp with my Homemade Cajun Seasoning and grilled them on a hot cast iron griddle with some olive oil and butter.
In the past I spent some time working in a Cheesecake Factory, and one of their best sellers is the Shrimp Bacon Club. Inspired by this, I bought the fattest slab of picnic style bacon I could find and had the butcher slice it thick. I baked the bacon in the oven with a little brown sugar until the cracklin (skin) was crispy.
Instead of mayonnaise, I made a extra thick and chunky tartar sauce for the condiment.
Extra Thick and Chunky Tartar Sauce Recipe
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of drained capers
- 1 bunch of chopped green onions
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of chopped dill pickles
- 1 minced purple small onion or shallot
- 4 rough chopped hard boiled eggs
- 1 Cup of Homemade Mayo:
Combine 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon of our favorite mustard, around 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and whisk or place in a food processor. Slowly add 3/4 to 1 cup of oil a little at a time until emulsified. The amount of oil dictates thickness. I use nut oil for it’s light flavor, or a blend of olive oil and vegetable oil. The finished product will have a more delicate flavor and will be less expensive overall than if you were to use only olive oil.
Mix everything together and add salt and pepper to taste. If you want as smother consistency (less like an egg salad) place everything in the food processor.
OK, back to the Po’ Boy. Since the bread is such a major component of this monster sandwich, make sure you prepare it correctly with a liberal slathering of melted butter and a sprinkling of sea salt inside and out.
Starting from the bottom, lay a thick smear of the homemade tartar sauce and some of my Pickled Red Onions along with a nice dense layer of lettuce to start the sandwich off right.
I topped this with the sweet and crispy bacon, the spicy shrimp, and some nice juicy and aromatic vine red tomatoes.
The last of my Homemade Tartar Sauce, Pickled Red Onions and capers finished this masterpiece of a sandwich. To wash everything down I had an American classic beer, Blue Moon. Cheers!