Saturday, April 23, 2011

The History of a Sandwich and Shrimp Po' Boy with Remoulade Sauce

I have been in love with remoulade sauce since the first time I tasted it. Tangy, slightly pungent, and creamy, I could probably pour remoulade over all manner of food: burgers, steak...cereal.

So what better way to celebrate my love for remoulade than to make a healthy version of a classic: the shrimp po' boy. A long and storied history is attached to the poor boy sandwich, which originated in--you guessed it--New Orleans in 1929 at a little coffee stand turned sandwich shop run by two brothers, Clovis and Bennie Martin.

At the time, streetcar operators went on strike, which lasted several months. The Martin brothers decided to show their support for the down and out workers by offering them free sandwiches. According to the letter the Martin brothers wrote to the workers, archived at Tulane University, "We are with you till hell freezes, and when it does, we will furnish blankets to keep you warm." They kept good on their word, and the name of the sandwich came along when the workers showed up for their free sandwiches. They would utter the phrase "Here comes another poor boy," thus giving birth to one of the most recognizable sandwich names in American culinary history. Bon appetit!

Shrimp Po' Boy
from Ezra Pound Cake

1 loaf whole wheat French baguette
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Creole seasoning
Crunchy fresh lettuce
Tomato slices
Remoulade sauce (recipe below)


1. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil and Creole seasoning. Heat a grill pan to medium-high, and grill the shrimp for about 3 minutes each side. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and set aside.

2. Split the baguette horizontally, scoop out some of the bread (if desired), and spread the Spicy Remoulade Sauce on both sides of the bread.

3. Place the shrimp on the bottom half of the baguette. Then pile on the shredded lettuce and tomato slices. Place the top half of the bread onto the sandwich, and divide the sandwich in half vertically to make two sandwiches.

Remoulade Sauce
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

1 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Smart Beat Omega3)
1/4 cup stone-ground mustard (preferably Creole)
1 clove garlic clove, smashed
1 tablespoon pickle juice
1 tablespoon capers
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
Dash of Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce


Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Chill until ready to serve.

Note: if you make the remoulade sauce a day ahead of time, the sauce will be even more intense in flavor.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Italian Greens and Beans

I have been rather remiss in my blogging this past month, and that's due to a number of factors that would bore you to death were I to list them here, so I simply won't bore you. Suffice to say, a tornado of responsibilities descended upon me this semester, and when I have had a free moment, I've been cooking rather than cooking AND blogging. Let's just say I have an interesting backlog.

What I have for you today is rather special. Growing up, my mother was a fantastic cook, and she remains as such, but I rarely ever ate anything my dad made...because he didn't cook. My dad is a meat and potatoes kind of guy who wasn't involved much in the kitchen, and not that there's anything wrong with that (he's also a Seinfeld fan--did you catch my Seinfeld reference? Did you?) but when he did cook, he prepared a meal that is kind of a craving staple for me.

He also has an affinity for mafia history, something that I was disturbed by as a kid, but am rather interested in now that I've grown past the embarrassment over parental quirks phase. I remember watching him pour over book after book about the FBI's role in taking down Gotti, Gotti himself, Al Capone, pretty much all of the wise guys of yesterday, and so it is only fitting that this recipe I have to share with you came from a mafia cookbook.

Panacotte, or greens and beans in Italian, is a cheap and easy way to use up day old bread, and it's mostly vegetarian (I imagine one could sub out the chicken stock in this recipe for vegetable broth or water) so it is also a wonderfully cheap dish. The original, of course, is a bit different from my own version, as it uses escarole, and I've used kale in its place, and I'm not including a link to a recipe original, as this is one I've made my own. Try it the next time you have a craving for the food of wise guys!

Italian Greens and Beans
1 loaf whole wheat Italian or French bread, dried out (or toasted at 225 degrees in the oven for twenty minutes)
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 head of kale, torn into pieces
15 oz. can cannellini beans, undrained
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cut Italian or French bread into cubes and place in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for one minute. Add torn kale and toss around in pan for five minutes, or until reduced in size. Add cannellini beans with juice, red pepper flakes, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook until kale has wilted. Remove from heat.
3. Pour bean and kale mixture over bread cubes in baking dish, and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes.