A New Orleans po'boy is traditionally loaded with fresh seafood from the coast and sandwiched between a soft French-style loaf. In this version, we kept the classic fixings, such as sliced tomato, finely shredded lettuce and a generous drizzle of homemade remoulade sauce. But we swapped in wild mushrooms that are "chicken fried" — coated in a shaggy buttermilk and seasoned flour batter, then deep fried to golden perfection, giving you a hearty vegetarian alternative to the beloved sandwich. We opted for maitake and oyster mushrooms because they hold the batter well and fry up crispy, but a variety of mushrooms would work well for this recipe.
For the remoulade sauce: Whisk together the mayonnaise, pickles, mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the po'boys: Trim the mushrooms into bite-size pieces (roughly 2 inches; any smaller will make the breading process more tedious). Maitake and oyster mushrooms can be sliced/torn lengthwise, while shiitake and cremini mushrooms are best quartered.
Pour the buttermilk and hot sauce into a shallow baking dish and whisk to combine. Add the mushrooms, then toss until evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature until well-seasoned, about 10 minutes.
Whisk together the flour, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk marinade to make shaggy clumps.
Heat 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil in a large pot over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels for draining.
Dip the mushrooms first in the flour mixture, turning to coat, then back in the marinade. Then dip again in the flour to coat with the clumpy bits; transfer to a plate. Working in batches, fry the mushrooms, flipping occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to the lined baking sheet and season with a pinch of salt.
Lay the sliced tomato on the bottoms of the sub rolls, then top with the mushrooms. Drizzle the remoulade sauce over the mushrooms, top with shredded lettuce, sandwich together and serve.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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