NOLA Nostalgia + A Po' Boy Recipe

After booking a flight - and sometimes even before searching for an accommodation - I can't help but begin scouring the interwebs for food recommendations for wherever I'll be visiting. Food is so intrinsically linked to the vibe I get from a city, and it's one of my favorite travel activities (I mean, if I'm being honest, one of my favorite activities always).

Longing for New Orleans weirdness, I stocked up on the few ingredients I needed to make a traditional shrimp po' boy and went to town making Alex and myself an easy, yet nostalgia-inducing lunch. 

Shrimp Po' Boys (makes 2-3)

Cajun Aioli

  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp spicy mustard (use creole mustard if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash kosher salt
  • 1-2 dashes of tabasco

Shrimp Po' Boy

  • 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 dashes smoked paprika
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 hoagie rolls, lightly toasted
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2-3 large pieces of romaine lettuce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Aioli is annoying to make, but delicious to enjoy. Just prepare for a little wrist workout. Begin by whisking together the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar, crushed garlic, lemon juice, and salt to combine. Then, ever so slowly, add in the oil. Start by adding just a drop, working up to a steady (but light) stream. This is key to the emulsification. Once all the oil is incorporated and the mixture has properly thickened, add tabasco and cayenne and whisk until combined. Salt to taste then refrigerate for a few hours. The toughest part is over. 

Make a light marinade for the shrimp by combining olive oil, crushed garlic, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning a place in a plastic bag in the fridge for an hour or so (longer is just fine). Then add lemon juice and let sit for a few minutes. Heat a pan with a tbsp of olive oil and add the shrimp, cooking until pink. Take care to not overcook. While the shrimp are cooking, lightly toast the hoagie buns and assemble by layering the aioli, tomato, lettuce, and shrimp. I drizzled a little extra aioli and sprinkled some additional Old Bay on top, because why not.

All that's left is to enjoy and pretend you're drinking from a to-go cup, waiting for the sweet sound of Mr. Okra to delight your ears.

Recipe adapted from Food52.