Hoagie, sub, grinder — there are a few names for the sandwich characterized by a long, top-cut roll stuffed with deli meats, meatballs and sauce, or tuna salad.

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Hoagie, sub, grinder — there are a few names for the sandwich characterized by a long, top-cut roll stuffed with deli meats, meatballs and sauce, or tuna salad.

While New Orleans is famous for gumbo and etoufee, their version of the “torpedo” sandwich is called a Po’ boy, served on a roll quite like a French baguette with a fluffy center and crunchy crust. Inside, it’s all about New Orleans specialties as well, including seafood like shrimp, oysters and crawfish, but also hot sausage, roast beef and fried chicken. 

It’s said that the term “poor boy” was used to describe the sandwich given to strikers as a free meal by Benny and Clovis Martin back in the late 1920s. An alternative theory is that the restaurant owners simply created the sandwich for local workers. “Poor boy” became “po’ boy” over the years.

In New Orleans, Parkway Bakery and Tavern is famous for its sandwiches, which they still call “Poor Boy” and offer the original 1929 potato or sweet potato version, which according to legend and their menu is “The first poor boy ever made by the Martin Brothers to feed the striking streetcar workers. We fry the potatoes golden brown and cover it in roast beef gravy.” Other versions on their menu include catfish, fried oysters, and surf and turf with their Louisiana wild-caught shrimp and slow-roasted beef. They all pair well with a frosty Abita beer brewed in New Orleans or a Dixie, also brewed right in NOLA since 1907.  

Here, we give you two recipes, one for an oyster Po’ boy and one with roast beef. Combine them for your own surf and turf version.

Oyster Poor Boy 

This recipe is recommended for two, but that gives each person a whopping 20 oysters for each sandwich, so you can adjust according to appetite and size of oyster. If you can’t get Gulf oysters, ask your local fishmonger what variety is local to you. The flavor and texture variations can make the sandwich more interesting each time. You can also experiment with the toppings like using a chipotle or Creole-flavored mayo.  

Vegetable oil

2 c. corn flour

1⁄2 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. garlic powder

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 t. cayenne

Salt

40 oysters, shucked and drained

1⁄2 c. mayonnaise

1 loaf (about 20 inches long) soft lightly toasted French bread, halved lengthwise, then crosswise

16 slices dill pickle

1 ripe tomato, cored and sliced

1⁄2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded

Pour oil into a heavy medium pot to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium heat until temperature registers 350 degrees F.

Combine corn flour, all-purpose flour, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne and salt to taste in a wide dish. Dredge oysters in flour mixture in small batches and shake off the excess. Deep-fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer oysters to a wire rack to let drain.  

Spread mayonnaise on cut length of bread, then put half the pickles, oysters, tomatoes and lettuce, in that order, on each bottom half. Place top halves of bread on all.

— Adapted from recipe from Parkway Bakery and Tavern


Roast Beef Po’ boy

Serves 6

1 yellow onion, chopped

6 oz. cremini mushrooms

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 beef chuck roast, 3 to 4 lb.

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 T. vegetable oil

1 T. veal demi-glace

1 qt. beef stock

Mayonnaise for serving

6 long French rolls, split

Shredded iceberg lettuce for serving

Thinly sliced tomatoes for serving

Hot sauce for serving 

In a food processor, combine the onion, mushrooms, garlic and parsley and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Warm the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides; transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 T. of the fat from the pan and set over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook until the moisture evaporates, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the demi-glace and 1 cup of the stock. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker, add the beef and stir in the remaining stock. Cover and cook on high until the beef is fork-tender, 6 to 8 hours.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board. When it is cool enough to handle, slice and shred the meat. Skim the fat off the cooking liquid and return the beef to the liquid.

Spread the mayonnaise on the cut sides of the rolls. Divide the beef among the bottom halves of the rolls and top with the lettuce and tomatoes. Cover each sandwich with the top half of a roll. Serve the po' boys with hot sauce.

— From Williams-Sonoma