Many, many years ago I spent three months in the States. The last leg was Louisiana which was a joy in every way-New Orleans should be on everyone’s must see list. Having survived much of the trip on PBJ sandwiches, we rather blew the budget in the Big Easy: beignets, muffulettas and of course, Oyster Po’ Boys were all devoured with great gusto. I have always wanted to make Po’Boys but the double hassles of shucking oysters and deep-frying has put me off. Until now. To make the oysters stretch a bit further I have deep-fried some large pickles to fill the rolls but you can leave them out or serve them straight from the jar, sliced. In New Orleans the oysters are nestled in small, slightly soft baguettes but I can’t find anything here that is quite right and, rather than go too crusty I have opted for a soft, sub-style roll. However, I would be more than happy to eat the oysters and pickle sans pain, just with some salad leaves and the remoulade sauce for dipping. On the subject of the remoulade- here, it is the Lousiana version of the sauce, rather than the plainer French sauce.
- For the remoulade sauce
- 150g mayonnaise, preferably homemade
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- I teaspoon pickle juice (from the pickle jar)
- ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- Dash Tabasco sauce
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- For the Po’ Boys
- 100g fine polenta or cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 egg
- 50ml milk
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- About 1 litre vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 3 large pickles, drained and halved lengthways
- 8 oysters, shucked
- To serve
- 2 sub rolls (see introduction)
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Sliced tomatoes
- For the remoulade sauce, mix all the ingredients together, taste and season with a touch of salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- For the po’boys, in one deep bowl mix the cornmeal and Cajun seasoning together and season with a little salt and pepper. In a second smaller bowl beat the egg and milk together. In a third bowl mix the flour with a little salt.
- Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180°c. Just before the oil comes up to temperature pat the pickles dry with kitchen paper and roll in the flour, followed by the egg and finally dredge in the polenta. Dip again into the egg, followed by the polenta and carefully lower into the oil. Deep-fry for about 2 ½ -3 minutes until light golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
- Pat the oysters dry and carefully dredge in the flour, followed by the egg and finally one coat of polenta. Deep-fry for about two minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
- Split the rolls and spread a little of the remoulade sauce over both halves. Place some shredded iceberg over one half followed by some tomato slices. Arrange two to four oysters (depending on how many are eating) on top and a couple of pickles among them. Drizzle with a little more remoulade and lightly press the second half on top. Serve immediately.