This Big Easy delicacy delivers balanced flavors with a kick

The “Poor Boy” (or Po’ Boy, as it’s commonly known today) sandwich was first created when a pair of New Orleans restaurant owners lent their support to unionized streetcar drivers during of a labor dispute in 1929.

Benny and Clovis Martin, owners of the French Market restaurant, were sympathetic to the strikers and vowed to feed them. Every time one of the strikers entered the restaurant, the staff shouted “There’s another poor boy”.

Although the sandwich was on the menu before the strike, according to, the name was coined during the strike. And it didn’t take long for the phrase to change from Poor Boys to Po’ Boys, due to the accents of those who originally coined it.

While we may not be geographically close to New Orleans or share the concerns of the 1929 Streetcar Union, we can certainly enjoy the history and feel empathy for a mighty thin sandwich with a rich history. Isn’t it great that the story can be influenced by food and vice versa, regardless of the circumstances?


Po’ Boys are usually made with meat, be it beef, fish or crayfish. Like New Orleans, we have access to locally sourced crab, shrimp and oysters to add to our options for a great sandwich. Prepared fried, sautéed, baked or grilled, the choice of meat is served on a soft French bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles and some vary with sauce options.

Our own version shared here, served at the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino’s The Kitchen, uses Cajun cornmeal breaded fried shrimp on a soft French bun with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles with a tangy remoulade sauce. Remoulade (we give the firm here) is a French sauce derived from the word Remolat – for horseradish, in the Picardy region of France. The result is a savory sandwich with a tantalizing balance of flavors and the expected “kick” of horseradish.

“Poor Boy” Shrimp Sandwich

For spice mix:

2 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning

3 teaspoons granulated garlic

3 teaspoons granulated onion

3 teaspoons of paprika

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

pinch of cayenne

Put all the ingredients in a small dish and mix.

For the prawns:

1½ pounds 31/40 shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup buttermilk

⅔ cup spice blend, divided

2 tablespoons hot sauce (We use Frank’s brand)

¾ cup cornmeal

¾ cup all-purpose flour

For the Remoulade sauce:

½ cup white vinegar

¼ cup ketchup

¼ cup prepared horseradish

½ cup Creole mustard (or Dijon)

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons hot sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

6 green onions, sliced

1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 cups mayonnaise

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Additional ingredients:

French rolls

Shredded iceberg lettuce

Sliced ​​tomatoes

Dill Pickles or Dill Pickle Relish

In a bowl, add the shrimp, buttermilk, half the spice blend and hot sauce. Toss the lid and refrigerate for about an hour.

While the shrimp cool, prepare the remoulade. In a bowl, combine all the remoulade ingredients, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Add a few inches of frying oil to a deep skillet or Dutch oven, slowly bring it to a hot temperature.

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and the other half of the spice blend, then dredge each shrimp (making sure to shake off any excess buttermilk) in this mixture and set aside.

Fry the prawns in batches in hot oil until golden brown on both sides.

Split French roll lengthwise, add desired amount of remoulade sauce to each side of roll, place sliced ​​pickles on bottom roll, layer three slices of tomato, ¼ cup shredded lettuce and top with 6-8 golden fried shrimp pieces.

Suggestion: Reheating the bread results in a softer interior texture with a crispy top.


Diane Lasswell is assistant manager of kitchen operations at Quil Ceda Creek Casino in Tulalip.