Sunday, July 3, 2011
Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Po’Boy Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries, and Peanut Ginger Dipping Sauce...
I think I’ve only eaten a real po’boy once in my life, in New Orleans. It is of course exactly the sort of thing one would eat when traveling to New Orleans since it’s there that the infamous sandwich was first created. The information on how the sandwich came to be, at what restaurant it first showed up, and who thought of it is a little murky. Two stories currently exist both originating from the mid-late twenties and both involving free sandwiches given to down on their luck men. In both stories the sandwiches were originally labeled ‘Poor Boy Sandwiches or ‘A poor boy lunch’ but in Louisiana dialect the Poor was shortened to Po’. Traditionally the sandwich is a foot long, served hot and stuffed with fried shrimp and oysters, soft shell crab, catfish, crawfish, Louisiana hot sausage or roast beef and gravy. They can be plain or ‘dressed’ with tomato, lettuce, onion and pickles, with either may or hot or regular mustard. The sandwich is commonly served with French fires.
Now the other night I found myself in the mood for a Po’boy. When the sun comes out and the weather gets hot I crave all sorts of ethnic, southern, creole, and Carribean food. Summer foods as I call them, but of course I wasn’t about to serve up some fried shrimp po’boys. Instead I tried my hand at making Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s, Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Po’Boy Sandwiches, from Veganomicon, and man were they good. I may have mentioned this before but I’m not particularly fond of tofu. However I have to say frying it in cornmeal with some delicious spices is a revelation. It was crispy and salty on the outside, and soft, almost creamy on the inside. Reminding me very much of a fried fish sandwich. My sandwiches were dressed with the coleslaw and chipotle mayo she suggests, as well as some sliced tomato, and pickles. Instead of serving the sandwiches with french fires however I served them alongside baked sweet potato fries and a peanut ginger dipping sauce, the recipe for which I got out of Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen cookbook, which is simply wonderful.
I highly recommend both books, as I’ve made many things from each and so far everything’s been fantastic. However I consider Veganomicon to be more of a winter book as it contains more recipes for things I’d eat in the winter vs the summer, while Vegan Soul Kitchen is without a doubt a summer (For the most part) book.
Just a note about the Po’Boy’s though - She says to use two French Loaves for the sandwiches, assuming each person would eat a foot long po’boy, but I have to say, they’re so stuffed, and so filling that my husband and I could barely finish a 6inch sandwich each, especially with the fries.