Fish Po Boy
Fish Po Boy

Celebrate New Orleans cuisine with a Fish Po’ Boy loaded with crispy seared catfish, slaw, tomatoes, pickles, onions and a tangy tartar sauce.

In this recipe

  • Origins of a Po’ Boy
  • The best fish for Po’ Boys
  • Tips and tricks for frying crispy fish
  • How to keep fried fish warm before serving
  • Preparation of a remoulade sauce
  • Po Boy Swaps, Substitutions and Variations
  • Leftovers, Storage and Make Ahead

A Fish Po’ Boy is an upgrade from any regular fish sandwich.

Let’s start with the French bread. It’s magical – soft, chewy, and everything you want in a sandwich bread. The bread is filled with crispy cornmeal-crusted fish, freshly chopped lettuce, thick slices of tomato, dill pickles, and a tartar sauce that has all the flavor and some texture of celery and relish.

You can arrange the fried fish, lettuce, tomatoes, and spices in a small jar and allow people to create their own fish po’boys. Serve it with a bowl of chips and dip or even a simple side salad and you’re all set. Traditionally it is served with french fries. Your options are endless.

Origins of a Po’ Boy

The Po’ Boy originated in New Orleans during the Great Depression of the 1920’s when the general population was struggling to afford groceries for their families.

The Martin brothers Benny and Clovis decided to feed striking streetcar drivers. The cheapest and easiest way to feed so many people was half a loaf of French bread stuffed with everything from roast beef to oysters, and the sandwich was known as the Poor Boy, now shortened to Po’ Boy or Po’boy.

The Martin brothers were streetcar conductors, so they were forced to feed striking streetcar workers. They later opened their own restaurant in the French market called Martin Brothers Coffee Stand and Restaurant.

There are also a lot of “fusion” butt guys out there. Viet Cajun-style cooking and Po’ Boy are a big trend in New Orleans. At the original location of Banh Mi Boys in the deli next to the Texaco station in Metairie, Nguyen offers a Banh Mi Po’ Boy with your choice of Vietnamese ham, meatballs, or grilled pork, topped with cilantro, pickled carrots, daikon, and cucumber.

The best fish for Po’ Boys

For a true Louisiana Fish Po’ Boy, use Catfish. We like it thinly sliced ​​and double batted to give it the right amount of crunch. Fortunately, we have many fresh seafood markets here in New Orleans. I can buy catfish fillet for myself, cut as thin or as thick as I want. If you’re buying fish from a fishmonger, be sure to purchase catfish fillets, which you’ll need for this sandwich.

I know that some areas have a lot of fish markets and others don’t. Don’t worry, this recipe is flexible. Fresh or frozen fillets will work – make it with whatever you can find at your local grocery store or fishmonger.

Here are some tips for buying the freshest fish:

  • If you buy whole fresh fish, make sure the fish doesn’t smell fishy and the eyes are clear.
  • If you buy fish fillets, make sure they aren’t yellow on the ends of the fish. The fish should be white-pink in color and not look dried out.
  • If you can’t find catfish, cod or tilapia will do

Tips and tricks for frying crispy fish

This is an easy recipe. The most complicated part is frying the fish. Everything else is just about putting the sandwich together. Prepare your lettuce and tomatoes, make your sauce, and get your ingredients ready before you start frying fish and building your sandwich.

Here are a few tips and tricks for preparing perfectly seared fish:

  • Make sure your oil is kept at 350°F. This is the perfect temperature for frying fish – it cooks your fish while your batter stays crisp but doesn’t burn.
  • Double dredge the cornmeal. It keeps the fish crispy when you coat it with tartar sauce.
  • Prepare a batter for the fish, which you spread over the fish before frying.
  • This batter is comparable to a “fish and chips” batter; however, it is somewhat different. Fish and chips style has a moist batter that provides a “fluffy” coating on the fish. This is a slightly more “fish-sticky” batter, also a bit crunchier.
  • Let your dough rest, 20 minutes would be enough.
  • Letting the batter rest will help it stick to the fish so it doesn’t “flake off” after frying.

To properly drain and keep the fish crispy, you should:

  • Take a baking sheet and line it with paper towels
  • Place a cooling rack on top (it has slots so the fat can drain and the fish doesn’t sit inside and become soggy).

How to keep fried fish warm before serving

How to keep your fish warm:

  • Take a baking sheet and line it with paper towels. Place a cooling rack on top (it has slots so the fat can drain and the fish doesn’t sit inside and become soggy).
  • Place in the oven at 275°F.
  • Place the fish on top while frying.

In this way you risk that your fish will become dry. Personally, I find that the fish doesn’t have to come out of the fryer hot for a Po’ Boy, so you might want to just set it aside until you make the sandwich.

Preparation of a remoulade sauce

Tartar sauce is basically a fancier mayonnaise with spices. This recipe combines seasonings traditional to New Orleans, like Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning, along with mayo, heavy cream, garlic powder, hot sauce, relish, paprika, Creole mustard, horseradish, scallions, celery, and cayenne.

Po Boy Swaps, Substitutions and Variations

Here are some swaps and subs and variations on a traditional po’ boy.

  • Use mayonnaise or remoulade instead of remoulade
  • Change the amount of spices in the remoulade or in the dough by:
  • Adding more cayenne pepper for an extra kick
  • Remove the celery if you just don’t like the texture or taste
  • Don’t like it spicy? Don’t add it! This is a recipe for you, adapt it to your taste. Don’t be afraid to test your dough.

Add your favorite sandwich ingredients such as

  • salad
  • mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • tomatoes
  • Sliced ​​onions
  • pickles

Make your own Cajun condiment if you can’t find Slap Ya Mama or another Cajun condiment locally. When I make my own, I usually use John Besh’s Cajun seasoning blend, which is a combination of celery salt, sweet paprika, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and ground allspice.

Leftovers, Storage and Make Ahead

Po’ boys are best prepared and eaten on the same day. You want the bread to be as fresh as possible, and after you’ve fried your fish you want a CRISPY fish roll, not a soggy one.

You can also prepare some things in advance:

  • Slice your lettuce and place in a ziplock bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture.
  • Slice the tomato and store in a bowl in the fridge.
  • Chop the onions and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Portion pickles so they’re ready quickly!
  • You can make the tartar sauce a day or two in advance and refrigerate until ready to use.

More NOLA recipes to try

  • Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage
  • New Orleans fritters
  • Hurricane Cocktail
  • Kings cake
  • Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Fish Po Boy

preparation time
30 minutes

cooking time
30 minutes

total time
60 minutes

up to 6 servings


  • For the remoulade sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup cream

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce or Tabasco

  • 1 teaspoon sweet cucumber relish

  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, e.g. B. Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika

  • 1/4 cup Creole mustard, spicy brown mustard, or Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons horseradish

  • 3 tablespoons spring onions, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

  • For the catfish
  • canola oil for frying, about 3-4 cups

  • 3 pounds of catfish fillets

  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal

  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon of water

  • Serve
  • 2 loaves of French bread

  • 3 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded

  • 1 cup dill pickle rounds

  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced

  • 1 onion, cut into rings


  1. Place a baking rack over a sheet pan and set aside
  2. Make the tartar sauce:

    In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, heavy cream, garlic powder, hot sauce, sweet relish, Slap Ya Mama seasoning, paprika, mustard, horseradish, scallions, celery, and cayenne pepper. Taste and add more cayenne pepper if you like. Set aside until ready to use.

  3. Set up an excavator station:

    Combine cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs and water.

    Place the two bowls side by side. You start with the cornmeal mixture.

  4. Dredging the Fish:

    Dip both sides of the fish in the cornmeal mixture. Then dip the fish in the egg mixture and drain excess water. Dip the fish back into the cornmeal mixture and coat both sides for a double coating. Place the breaded fish on the sheet pan lined with a wire rack until ready to fry. Repeat until the whole fish is covered.

  5. Preheat oil:

    Fill a large Dutch oven (or heavy skillet) with at least 3 inches of oil in your saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350°F on a thermometer.

  6. fry fish:

    Carefully place each fish fillet in the hot oil. Fry the fish until golden and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, turning halfway through cooking. This time may vary depending on the thickness of your fish, but you can tell by the golden color on the outside.

  7. Assemble your sandwiches:

    Slice the French bread. Spread the remoulade on the inside of both sides of the bread. Top the bread with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, sliced ​​onions and fried fish. Assemble the remaining sandwiches. Cut sandwiches into desired portions.

  8. Surcharge:

    Serve Fish Po’ Boys with fries, fries, or a salad!

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!