The original po-boy sandwich was created in New Orleans during the Great Depression, with roast beef gravy and potatoes as the main fillings. The sandwich evolved over the years to become a staple of New Orleans cuisine featuring many different types of meat and toppings. Its popularity has since spread across the nation and the po-boy has become a classic sandwich. Fried seafood became a more common ingredient in the submarine-style sandwich -- especially shrimp -- but the one constant that makes a po-boy what it is the type of bread used.
The French Influence
It can only be called a po-boy if a fresh-baked French loaf is used. This was true in 1929, when the sandwich was invented in the Big Easy, and it's still true today. The fillings and toppings may have changed, but the type of bread hasn't. A traditional French loaf is like a French baguette -- crispy and flaky on the outside, soft and airy on the inside -- but wider. It's wide enough to hold all the ingredients that make up this classic Cajun sandwich. Fried seafood, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and hot sauce are commonly used. Ask for a traditional French loaf at your local bakery as the first step to making a delectable shrimp po-boy.