Po' boys come with a range of fillings, from the luxurious, such as oyster, shrimp, and crab, through to the more mundane, namely French fries. We’ve used crumbed calamari in ours, and have also given our recipe a modern American twist by making them sliders.
Short for "poor boy", these iconic sandwiches, traditionally made on a long baguette with rectangular rather than tapered ends, originated in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to the New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Society (who host an annual festival in its honour), the name was created when two brothers, owners of the Martin Brothers’ Coffee Stand, offered these free sandwiches to striking streetcar workers, or "poor boys", for the duration of the four-month strike in 1929.
- 150 g (½ cup) whole egg mayonnaise
- 6 dinner rolls, cut in half
- 6 baby cos lettuce leaves, shredded
- 2 dill pickles, thickly sliced
- thick-cut chips, to serve
- 500 g (about 3) calamari, cleaned, skin and tentacles removed, cut into 2 cm-thick rings
- 1 lemon, zested
- 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 75 g (1 cup) panko (see Note) or packaged breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make crumbed calamari, season calamari rings with salt and pepper, and rub with lemon zest. Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dust calamari rings with flour, shake off excess, then dip in egg and coat in breadcrumbs.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in 2 batches, gently drop calamari into the oil and fry, turning halfway, for 3 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season well with salt and pepper.
Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the bread rolls. Top bases with lettuce, pickles and fried calamari rings. Sandwich po-boys and serve with thick-cut chips.
• Panko breadcrumbs are available from supermarkets and Asian food shops.
Photography by Armelle Habib.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 14, pg60.