The limitations on treating friends and family to a meal during COVID-19 are going to be sticking around for a while. I like the idea of dinner on the porch with a simple meal that does not require running in and out of the house and that can be prepared beforehand.

Why not try serving Po-Boy sandwiches. They are delicious served with a salad and oven French fries. They don’t need to be piping hot and can sit out on a table while folks are having hors d’oeuvres and they go well with beer and wine.

The Po-Boy can be made with shrimp, oysters, roast beef, chicken, hot sausage, and even green tomatoes. They make a hardy meal. The most important part of this sandwich is the remoulade sauce used on the Po-Boy. I give you that recipe along with a few ideas for Po-Boys.

The Po-Boy is a traditional submarine sandwich originating in New Orleans with a warm meat or fish filling. The name po-boy was created by Clovis and Benny Martin when they opened up the Martin Bros coffee stand and restaurant in the French Market. It drew its patrons from the streetcar workers and union members. When these customers went on strike in 1929 the brothers pledged to give these workers free meals until the strike ended. To fulfill this pledge the brothers developed this meal of a sandwich and called it the ‘poor boy’ originally. When a striker came by to get a sandwich, they would call out – “Here comes another poor boy.” The name was abridged to Po-Boy and lives on throughout the Metro New Orleans area by that name.

Remoulade Sauce

You will want to have some of this sauce in your refrigerator all the time. It is a perfect sauce for many meats and fishes and a must for a Po-Boy. Make it ahead of time when you have company. It will last for a couple of weeks in your refrigerator if you use store-bought mayonnaise or one week if you make your own.

  • 2 cups mayonnaise (see next recipe for homemade mayonnaise)
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon or whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 6 ounces jarred sweet fire-roasted peppers - (I use Mancini)
  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • 3 teaspoons grated horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup capers coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 scallions coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)

Puree the roasted red peppers with the mayonnaise in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until just smooth. Do not overbeat.

Chill for at least thirty minutes or leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Homemade mayonnaise

This mayonnaise is fun to make and does taste better than jarred. If you make it right before you make your remoulade you won't even have to take it out of the processor.

Just use it for the beginning of the remoulade. This recipe makes the two cups you need.

  • 4 egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper (white pepper if you have it)
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

Place the egg yolks, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor and beat at high speed for 2 minutes or until the mixture is creamy. With the processor still running gradually add the oil in a slow, thin stream. Remember to add the oil very slowly. Add the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Add the boiling water and mix for 2-3 seconds until just incorporated.

The mayonnaise is now ready to use for the remoulade or any other use you want.

The Bread

The bread you use for a Po-Boy is important. I use a baguette that is not too crunchy and is wide enough to make a nice 8-inch long submarine sandwich when sliced lengthwise. If it is too thick you can take a little of the doughy bread out of the center. You can also use Italian or hoagie rolls. The sandwich should be around 8 inches by 4 inches. You can slice them in half after you make them so you can try one or two different kinds.

Put in the Ingredients

Butter the insides of the bread lightly and put them in the oven butter side up for just a minute or two. You don’t want to toast the bread.

Smear a decent amount of remoulade on the top and bottom of the inside of the bread.

Put in your cooked meat, fish, or veggies on the bottom.

Lay down a layer of thinly shredded iceberg lettuce on top of the meat or fish.

You can put tomatoes, thin round pickles, or pickle relish on top of the lettuce. You choose what you want.

Different types of Po-Boys

You can make po-boys from all different meats and fish as well as veggies. Here are some of the po-boys you can make.

Shrimp are classic. Choose medium-size raw shrimp (16 or 20 per pound). Sauté the peeled shrimp in olive oil after dipping in beaten egg and then cornmeal, bay seasoning, and flour mix.

Chicken is another classic. Sauté the chicken like you would a cutlet. Sauté the chicken with a highly flavored flour – or you can use breaded chicken pieces.

Veggie: slice vegetables and season with salt, pepper, and curry powder. Grill them on the outdoor grill or under the broiler. For a real treat grill some asparagus to use on the sandwich – it is GREAT! Fried green tomatoes also make a nice po-boy. You can even put some shredded cheese on the veggie po-boy.

You can use pulled pork, roast beef, any type of sauteed fish, soft shell crabs (when in season), oysters (fried) are terrific and if you live in the south you could probably find an alligator po-boy!

How to serve

Buy everything you need a few days ahead of time. Make the remoulade sauce a few days beforehand.

That morning get the bread cut (store in a bag) In the afternoon cook the meat, shrimp, fish, veggies, and store on platters to heat up when you make the po-boys.

Slice the tomatoes, lettuce, and any other condiment you want to use on the sandwich on a covered platter in the fridge.

Make up a cheese platter and some hors d’oeuvres and get the wine and beer ready to serve.

About an hour before folks get there make the po-boys. Heat the cooked foods and make the total sandwiches. Leave some whole and cut some in half. Put each piece on a paper plate and put them on a couple of trays. This way everyone can take what they want and not handle anyone else’s food. I would supply a glass plate for everyone to use. You will need to have plenty of napkins – these are usually messy sandwiches.

I would serve a string bean salad or a fall veggie with these sandwiches – but you don’t need it. The po-boy is a meal in a bun.