Chef de Cuisine Brandon Benack's Fried Shrimp Po' Boy with Creole Tartar Sauce and Truffled Potato Chips at Emeril's Miami Beach
|Benack and his larger than life hogie|
"We had this po' boy on the Miami Spice Menu last year," explains Benack. "I think we're going to bring it back for lunch this time around."
This New York native knows a thing or two about authentic po' boys. He lived in New Orleans for six years. That's equivalent to 312 of the iconic sandwiches, at the rate of one scarfed per week. And who in their right mind would stop there when there's so many varieties to try? Shrimp, oyster, shrimp and oyster (aka "Half & Half,") roast beef, and even soft shell crab during the season, which conveniently falls on Jazz Fest.
Benack will also be the first to tell you that in New Orleans, if the po' boy is served on a white table cloth, it's not going to be good.
But all bets are off when you're in Miami. This guy's learned a thing or two behind the line at Delmonico, with the big boss. And Emeril doesn't mess around with Creole cuisine. This po' boy is as sure a thing as there's gonna be in these parts. BAM! There are enough layers of spice and zing in the Creole tartar alone to have your taste buds in a titillating tailspin. Did we mention what the shrimp and their marinade bring to the table? No tongue assault here. Each flavor reveals itself gradually, one after another, like a great page-turner.
Here's how it comes together behind the Emeril's Miami Beach line, easily repeatable in the comfort of your home kitchen. Just remember to take Benack's advice on selecting the best, crusty baguette you can find for the task, since "the biggest and most important part is the bread."
|The mese, including Gulf shrimp|
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup masa flour
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons Emeril's Creole Spice, recipe follows
16 to 20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup Crystal Hot Sauce
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 small French bread loaves, split lengthwise
3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
½ cup Creole Tartar Sauce, recipe follows
1 cup shredded lettuce, for dressing sandwich
6 slices of fresh tomatoes, for dressing sandwich
1 large dill pickle, sliced crosswise, for dressing sandwich, (or sliced dill pickles), to taste
Zapp's potato chips, for serving, or homemade truffled Idahos (see last photo/caption)
Add 3 to 4 inches of oil to a large saucepan or Dutch oven and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a shallow pan, combine the masa and flour. Season the flour mixture with 1 tablespoon of the Creole Seasoning. In a separate bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the remaining Creole Seasoning, the Crystal hot sauce, and buttermilk and mix until well-coated. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the marinade, letting any excess marinade drip off the shrimp, then transfer shrimp to the seasoned flour mixture and toss until thoroughly coated.
Shake shrimp to remove any excess coating, and then transfer to the hot oil, in batches if necessary, and fry until golden brown, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a paper-lined plate to drain briefly. Season with Creole Spice to taste.
Split the French bread loaves in half. Spread the softened butter on the cut sides of the bread and transfer to the oven until lightly toasted.
Remove the bread from the oven and assemble the sandwiches: Spread the cut sides of the bread with the Creole Tartar Sauce, then garnish the bottom halves with the fried shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes, and sliced pickles. Place the top half over the filled bottom portion and serve sandwiches immediately, with the potato chips.
Yield: 2 sandwiches
|The secret is the Crystal brand hot sauce (and the buttermilk)|
|Masa mix a lot|
|If you build it they will come|
|Pop a few shrimp in your mouth first only if absolutely necessary|
EMERIL'S CREOLE SPICE
2 ½ tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: Makes about 2/3 cup
CREOLE TARTAR SAUCE
*1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon Creole or whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup vegetable oil or vegetable-olive oil blend
¼ cup finely chopped gherkins or dill pickles, plus pickle juice to taste
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon Crystal Hot Sauce, or other Louisiana hot sauce, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Combine the egg, green onions, mustard, parsley, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor and puree for 15 seconds. With the processor running, pour the oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream until thick and emulsified. Transfer to a nonreactive bowl and stir in the pickles, red onion, Worcestershire Sauce, Crystal hot sauce, salt, and cayenne. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, adding a little pickle juice to taste.
Cover and let sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator before using. Best if used within 24 hours.
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups
|We like Zapps as much as the next person, but trust us on this: Take cleaned, skin-on Idaho potatoes to a Kyocera ceramic blade paddle (mandolin for smarty dummies,) run slices under hot water for a few minutes and then shock with cold water for the same. Let sit in room temp water for 30 mins, and then deep fry in veg oil. Drain onto paper towel. Transfer to a bowl and toss while still warm with coarse salt, finely chopped chive, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a restrained drizzle of white truffle oil. OMG.|
*RAW EGG WARNING
The American Egg Board states: "There have been warnings against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs on the grounds that the egg may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a type of foodborne illness. Healthy people need to remember that there is a very small risk and treat eggs and other raw animal foods accordingly. Use only properly refrigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh, grade AA or A eggs. Avoid mixing yolks and whites with the shell..."
Emeril's Miami Beach
1601 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Mon - Sat 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Lunch)
Sun 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Brunch)
Sun - Thu 6 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. and Fri - Sat 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. (Dinner)
Daily 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. (Happy hour)