Food & Drink

Coast Cooking: The Vancleave Special

By JULIAN BRUNT

Special to the Sun Herald

A Vancleave Special po-boy.
A Vancleave Special po-boy.

The last po-boy in this week’s blog series is a Biloxi classic. It was invented at Rosette’s restaurant in Biloxi and was called the Vancleave Special.

 It seems a customer, from Vancleave, came in one day and asked for a crab cake, topped with cheese, on a po-boy loaf. I am sure there are other, more detailed stories about the birth of this po-boy, but that’s the basics.

It is a good idea, simple and wonderful. But it can be made on the cheap, or it can be made well. 

Here's the way to make it the very best: use the best crab meat that you can afford; do not add too many bread crumbs. They quickly become a filler, and not the binding agent they are supposed to be.

Add some chopped veggies, like onion and garlic if you like, but, again, remember it is all about the crab.

Lastly carefully choose the cheese you want to use. American or Velveeta are the classic choices, but using a better cheese, such as the king of melting cheeses, Gruyere, will make  it even better. I know it is heresy to suggest replacing the cheese, but a better tasting cheese will make a big difference. Lastly, don't you dare eat a Vancleave Special, now generally called a crab meat and cheese po-boy, without a cold Barq’s in a glass bottle.

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