Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fried Catfish Po' Boy

     A Tasty Louisiana Style Po' Boy for Mardi Gras!
     A Po' Boy (Poor Boy) is a classic Louisiana sandwich that was borne during tough economic times.  Po'Boy Sandwiches were fed to laborers out the back door of New Orleans restaurants back in the late 1800's.  The original Po' Boy Sandwiches were made with fried oysters, fried shrimp or roast beef.  All of these items were dirt cheap back in New Orleans at that time, which suited the laborers just fine, because pay was dirt cheap back in those days too.  In fact, many Po' Boy Sandwiches were simply just given away for free, because in New Orleans nobody wants to see anybody go hungry, especially when times are tough.   
     The Po' Boy name stuck and many of the restaurants that fed the poor folk ended up putting this sandwich on the menu, because it became a popular local item.  Even though a menu price was set at the restaurants, the theme of this sandwich did not change.  A Po' Boy continued to be a hearty sandwich made with cheap meat or seafood.  When the Great Depression struck in the 1920's, the Po' Boy once again lived up to its reputation for keeping poor folks from going hungry.
     The theme of the Po' Boy has not changed in modern times, but the price of one of these sandwiches has increased dramatically because of rising costs.  Even so, a Po' Boy is still one of the best dining values that there is, because this sandwich retained its simple theme.  There is little or no garnishes on an authentic Po' Boy.  A Po' Boy does not require cheese or anything fancy!  
     A Po' Boy only requires meat or seafood and some Louisiana Remoulade Spread.  Catfish is still a top choice for a Po' Boy, because catfish still sells for less than two dollars a pound in most places around the country.  Better still, if you do some fishing, then the catfish is practically free!  
     Some people say that Mayonnaise is the original sandwich spread for a Po' Boy, while others say Remoulade was spread on the original Po'Boy Sandwiches.  One thing is certain, New Orleans chefs have always been all about getting people to enjoy great flavors, no matter how rich or poor the guests may be.  Remoulade is not expensive to make and Louisiana chefs take great pride in their Remoulade recipes.  These are good reasons to give Remoulade the nod for authenticity, as far as the original Po' Boy is concerned.    
     There are four kinds of remoulade that are made in Louisiana and each is usually identified by its color.  Two of the colors are orange and pink and these two remoulade recipes are nearly the same thing.  Both require ketchup and the only difference is whether curry powder is added.  Adding Curry Powder to a Pink Remoulade creates an orange color.  
     White color Remoulade is a basic French mayonnaise secondary recipe and it is popular in New Orleans too.  By adding ketchup to a White Remoulade, the white color turns pink.  Pink Remoulade is by far the most popular Remoulade in Louisiana.  Yellow Remoulade is a White Remoulade that has curry spices added to the recipe and Yellow Remoulade originates in France too.  Once again, by adding ketchup, this Remoulade turns an orange color.  
     There is one key difference between Louisiana Remoulade and French Remoulade.  In France, the traditional mustard for making Remoulade is Dijon Mustard.  In Louisiana, the top choice of mustard happens to be Creole Mustard.  Creole Mustard has influences from many different international cuisines.  The choice of mustard seed for Creole Mustard is much zester than the mustard seeds that are used to make Dijon Mustard.  In fact, many chefs consider Creole Mustard to be the top choice for a Po' Boy Sandwich spread.  A Roast Beef Po' Boy with Creole Mustard is a mighty satisfying flavor combination!  
     As far as the Street Food status of the Po' Boy is concerned, this sandwich was originally served up to poor folk that worked all day for a handful of coins.  In modern times, Po'Boys are served up everywhere from food trucks to trendy craft beer bars.  The best place to get a Fried Catfish Po'Boy is at an old fashioned seafood restaurant or right in the home kitchen!     

     Louisiana Remoulade (Orange Color):
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.  (Enough for 3 or 4 sandwiches.)
     There are many Louisiana Remoulade recipe variations.  A higher proportion of Creole Mustard and curry spices gives this Remoulade a unique flavor and color.
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of organic ketchup.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of Louisiana Creole Mustard.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced capers.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped Baby Dill Gherkin Pickle or Cornichon Pickle.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Madras Yellow Curry Powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Step 4:  Add 2 to 3 pinches of cayenne pepper.  (to taste)
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 5:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the Louisiana Remoulade in a container.
     Chill for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Deep Fried Catfish Nuggets:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Large cut catfish nuggets increase the eye appeal!
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of corn meal in a bowl.
     Add 3/4 cup of Masa Harina (Nixtamal Corn Flour).  
     Season the corn meal mixture with sea salt, black pepper and a couple pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Set the breading mixture aside.
     Step 2:  Place 1 large egg in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of water.
     Whisk till blended. 
     Set the egg wash aside.
     Step 3:  Cut 7 ounces of catfish filet into large nugget pieces.
     Dredge the catfish pieces in plain flour.
     Dip the floured catfish pieces in the egg wash.
     Dredge the egg washed catfish pieces in the seasoned corn meal mixture.  (Be sure that the catfish pieces are coated evenly.)
     Step 4:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.  
     Carefully place the catfish nuggets in the hot oil.
     Deep fry till the catfish nuggets are golden brown and fully cooked.
     Step 5:  Use a fry net to remove the fried catfish from the hot oil.
     Place the fried catfish on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the catfish pieces warm on a stove top.
     Fried Catfish Po' Boy:   
     This recipe yields 1 hearty Po' Boy Sandwich!  
     Step 1:  Heat a griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Split a hoagy roll open.
     Brush the roll with melted unsalted butter.
     Grill the roll till it is toasted golden brown.
     Step 2:  Spread a generous layer of the Louisiana Remoulade on the grilled hoagie roll.
     Place a few small pieces of lettuce on the sandwich roll.  (optional)
     Place the fried large catfish nuggets on the sandwich roll.
     Step 3:  Set the Fried Catfish Po' Boy on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with Bread 'n' Butter Pickles and Italian Parsley sprigs.

     Hoo lawdy!  This Fried Catfish Po' Boy sure hits the spot!  If you have a catfish pond nearby, that makes this recipe all the better!

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