Here’s a Miami-Inspired Po’ Boy Recipe, Just in Time for Mardi Gras

Plus, how to give it a local touch

February 17, 2023 6:48 am
Joilet Fried Fish Po'Boy
Joilet Fried Fish Po'Boy
Lost Boy & Co

The NOLA-inspired menu at South Beach’s Joliet would not be complete without a po’ boy, a sandwich that, according to lore, was invented in 1929 by brothers Benny and Clovis Martin. It’s not hard to imagine the hearty, filling sandwich sustaining striking streetcar drivers, and while the true story may not be as clear-cut as the myth, one thing we can all agree on is that the sandwich is a bastion of deliciousness.  And thanks to Joliet’s executive chef, Juan Garrido, the Louisiana staple can be yours at home.

At Joliet, the sandwich begins with fresh fish: Garrido likes yellowtail, “because it fries nicely and it’s local to South Florida,” but you can also use red snapper or mahi mahi, depending on availability and personal preference. Whichever fish you choose is first marinated in seasoned buttermilk before spending 10 minutes in a seasoned cornmeal-flour mix. (Flipping it regularly ensures an even thicker, crispier coating once it’s been deep-fried.)

While the vessel of choice for most classic po’ boys is a French bread roll, Garrido puts a local twist on his version by opting, instead, for a Miami favorite.

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“Cuban bread is a nice touch,” he says, “because it provides crunch with an airy texture and can stay together as you eat the sandwich.”

The bread is dressed with house-made remoulade, a spread that begins with a mayo base. “Duke’s is the only mayo I buy,” says the chef of the brand known for its “twang.” 

“It’s very rich but they use vinegar so it’s still acidic,” he says. “It’s absolutely delicious.”

Seasoned with pickled Mezzetta peppers for “a little kick,” the remoulade provides a generous, creamy base atop which are piled the fish, a few slices of tomato and crisp iceberg lettuce — the chef’s go-to for sandwiches thanks to its refreshing crunch.

All that’s left is to serve it up: Garrido suggests a side of fries, coleslaw, pickles or “good ol’ red beans and rice.”

Joliet Po’Boy

Servings: 4

Ingredients
  • FOR THE FISH
  • 4 6-ounce portions of local fresh fish fillets, such as yellowtail, red snapper, or mahi mahi
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1½ quarts peanut oil or neutral frying oil
  • For the flour mix
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup cornmeal
  • ¾ tablespoon seasoning salt, such as Lawry’s or a Cajun blend such as Paul Prudhomme’s
  • FOR THE REMOLAUDE
  • ¾ cup Duke’s mayonnaise (or your favorite brand)
  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • ¼ cup pickled peppers, such as pepperoncini
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt, such as Lawry’s or a Cajun blend such as Paul Prudhomme’s
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
  • FOR THE SANDWICHES
  • 4 French hoagie buns or Cuban rolls
  • ¼ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 12 slices tomato
  • ½ cup white onion, thinly sliced
Directions
  • Prepare the fish
    1. Season the buttermilk with the salt and pepper in a baking dish or bowl. Stir to combine, then add the fish. Marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour.

    2. Meanwhile, make the seasoned flour mix by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl or baking dish. Set aside.

  • Make the remoulade
    1. In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until incorporated. Season to taste with seasoning salt and Tabasco. (The remoulade can be made up to two days in advance and stored in an airtight container.)

  • Fry the fish
    1. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven over medium high heat to 360º F. Meanwhile, remove the fish from the marinade and dip into the flour mixture. Let sit for 10 minutes, tossing every 3-4 minutes to absorb all the moisture and make a nice coating.

    2. Gently add the fish pieces to the fryer oil one at a time and move with a spoon or tongs so they are not sticking together. Fry the fish for approximately 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. (When in doubt, the fish should reach an internal temperature of 135-140ºF.)

    3. While the fish is frying, split the rolls lengthwise so that they open but are not completely split. Toast until the outside is crispy and the center is still soft.

    4. Remove fish from the fryer with a slotted spoon or tongs, and place onto a paper towel-lined plate. Keep warm.

  • Assemble the sandwich
    1. While the fish is frying, split the rolls lengthwise so that they open but are not completely split. Toast until the outside is crispy and the center is still soft.

    2. Spread a layer of remoulade on both sides of the bread. Line one side with 3 sliced tomatoes, and top with the fish, followed by the shredded lettuce and onions. Serve immediately.

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