Food & Drink

Coast Cooking: The shrimp po-boy is a Biloxi favorite

By JULIAN BRUNT

Special to the Sun Herald

Use the freshest ingredients to make a great shrimp po-boy.
Use the freshest ingredients to make a great shrimp po-boy.

Is there anything more Gulf Coast than a good po-boy?

If you are from Biloxi that po-boy would come with a Barq’s root beer, but only in a glass bottle, and you would ask for the po-boy to be dressed.

For those who somehow might not know, Braq’s was invented in Biloxi, and its inventor, Edward C. Barq Sr.'s tomb is within a long city block of where I sit typing right now.

Dressed refers to the trio of condiments, tomato, lettuce, and a pickle that always come on a well-dressed po-boy.

The story goes that the po-boy was invented in New Orleans.  During a street car strike some local restaurants offer sandwiches made on French bread to the "poor boys" who were striking and obviously hungry.

There also is a story told that the idea of pressing a po-boy using something like a small laundry press, was invented at Rossetti's in Biloxi, also the home of one of the most famous po-boys of all, the Vancleave Special, but more about that later in the week.

The po-boy we will focus on today is the hands-down favorite of them all, the fried shrimp po-boy. This is pretty simple stuff. Make sure you have the freshest ingredients, and use only wild-caught Gulf shrimp. Make sure the bread is crusty and locally made, and whatever you do, do not overcook the shrimp. Toss the shrimp directly in flour, or corn meal, dip them first in an egg wash if you like, but when you drop them into the hot oil for no more than 2 minutes.

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