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  • Tommy Centola

Two different types of PoBoy's

New Orleans is known for two unique sandwiches; the Muffuletta and the Po’Boy. While the muffuletta has a few variations, there is an infinite number of possibilities for the Po’Boy. You may ask, exactly, what is a Po’Boy.

While sandwiches on New Orleans style French Bread have been around since the late 1800’s, the PoBoy didn’t get it’s name until the 1929 street car strike. The Martin brothers, Benny and Clovis (who were both former street car workers) has a restaurant. They stood by their brothers. When one would come in for a sandwich, it was said, “Here come one of those Poor Boys. Thus, the sandwich got its name.

Today, I want to share with you two distinctly different types of PoBoy’s. The first is an Italian style PoBoy, Chicken Parmesan PoBoy. The second is a traditional one, the Fried Seafood PoBoy. You can find great versions of both of these sandwiches all over the city. Since we are not in New Orleans, Let’s head to the kitchen and recreate them here in Searcy.

Chicken Parmesan PoBoy

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

Canola oil, for frying

4 ( 6- to 8-inch loaves French bread, halved lengthwise

3 cups of your favorite Red Gravy

8 ounces sliced provolone cheese

8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and 1 tablespoon water. In another medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs and Parmesan. Dredge chicken thighs in flour mixture, shaking off excess: coat in egg mixture, and then coat in bread crumb mixture.

In a large skillet, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350℉. Add breaded chicken, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165℉, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oil, and let drain on paper towels. Carefully slice each thigh into thirds.

Preheat oven to broil.

On bottom half of each loaf, place sliced chicken, 1/4 to 1/2 cup Red Gravy, provolone and mozzarella. Broil until cheese is melted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Top with basil and additional Red Gravy.

Fried Seafood PoBoy

2 pounds shrimp peeled, catfish, oysters or whatever seafood you choose.

Seafood Breading (recipe below)

Egg Wash (recipe below)

4 8-inch pieces of French bread, sliced in half lengthwise

Mayonnaise

Tomatoes, sliced

Lettuce, shredded

Pickle slices

Ketchup

Hot sauce (optional)

Heat a deep fryer to 350 ℉.

Dip seafood in egg wash then coat with seafood breading. Shake off excess breading before putting in the fryer. Cook until seafood starts to float. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Prepare bread with mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and hot sauce. Add seafood and serve immediately.

Seafood Breading

3 pounds corn flour

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon cayenne

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

Mix well. Store in an airtight container. It will hold for 3 months.

Egg Wash

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 cup milk

Mix together.

Whenever I go to New Orleans, I always bring home some French Bread. It’s always baked a little crustier there. There’s something about the water that is used. It’s filtered from the Mississippi River. I’ve tried making it here with not the same results. I guess I’m too far up river.

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