These days, it’s not often that I get a chance to go out with my son. Jake has gathered his London ‘tribe’, the size of which ebbs and flows like the fickle tide of fame but I am pleased that his close friends have remained constant throughout. My point is, that in his spare time, he is always busy, friends to meet up with, an event to go to or a party to attend – with a tribe that large there is always something going on. It’s nigh on impossible to do anything on the spur of the moment that includes him. Unless he is grounded, which was the case last week. So I snatched at the opportunity to take him shopping with me (he needed some things too, so don’t go feeling sorry for him at being grounded and dragged round the shops!) at the weekend. We stopped for some much needed fuel at “Pho“, one of a chain of Vietnamese restaurants that seem to have sprung up everywhere. Jake had the Pho Combo which was really tasty – full of aniseed and beefy flavours, but a huge portion as most of these noodle soup bowls are – does anybody actually finish one? I had the green papaya salad with peanuts and chicken which was absolutely gorgeous – fresh, crunchy and light. Looking around, I couldn’t help but notice how many bottles of Sriracha Sauce they had lining the shelves, as well as on every table. No wonder there is a dearth of them in the shops for us mere consumers! It was really lovely to spend a few hours with Jake, outside of the house (aka the battlefield) and just hang out like old times.
I adore Vietnamese food – really fresh flavours with mint and coriander, bone broths (Pho), noodles and lots of salads – quite easy to eat well and healthily. I’ve heard so much about bánh mì sandwiches – French bread sandwiches stuffed with all manner of glorious fillings and also known in New Orleans as a Vietnamese Po’ boy. I had fried seafood sandwiches on my mind when I received some packets of Whitby Seafood to review.
Whitby is an independent family business, founded in 1985 by Graham Whittle who has now been joined at the helm by his daughter and sons – isn’t that just such a wonderful thing in these days of giant omnipresent, multinational, community destroying, food businesses? They have rebranded themselves – rather wonderfully in my opinion – with packaging that is modern, relevant and eye-catching and a website that is so easy to navigate and read. Whitby Whole Scampi (langoustine), fished in British waters, is one of their best sellers and has been awarded a Great Taste 2014 Star too. Funnily enough, I was chatting to a friend earlier today and she had just bought a couple of packets in Morrisons – they are on sale – 2 for £4 and I would recommend snapping up a few packs – you won’t regret it!
So, I made a toastie version of a Po’ boy, with Whitby’s Whole Scampi, spicy homemade mayonnaise and that wonderful Barber’s 1833 Farmhouse Vintage Reserve Cheddar, which comes from another independent food producer, who are in fact the the oldest cheese makers in England. I have written about Barber’s previously here. I didn’t realise that Jake was going to be home this morning and for lunch (he is on study leave/writing exams) so I was really pleased that he was here to try my Spicy Po’ boy Toastie. After claiming that he wasn’t hungry, he scoffed the lot, saying between mouthfuls “this is really good” and “can you make this again”.
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside bread, crunchy coated, tender scampi, spicy, smoky, creamy mayonnaise and gooey melted cheese – with a few cornichons or pickles to add sharpness – simply divine. I’m not going to lie – this is utter comfort food and with the wild weather we have been having, seemed like the perfect thing to eat.
They are really easy to make. While the scampi are cooking in the oven, mix up the spicy mayo, grate the cheese and generously butter the bread. Then, once the scampi are cooked. put a frying pan on a low heat, place one slice of bread in it, buttered side down, spread with the spicy mayo, then top with the scampi and cheese. Place the second slice of bread on top with the buttered side up, cover and gently sizzle for a minute or two – just keep checking the underside. When it’s a nice golden colour, flip it over, press down gently and let it cook for another minute or so. I find covering the pan heats everything through and makes the cheese melt more evenly. Use soft butter on the bread – it will tear otherwise and the mayo and cheese will leak out into the pan.
Disclaimer – I was sent the products to review but the opinions expressed are my own.
Spicy Po' boy Toastie
- 1 x 225g package of Whitby Whole Scampi
- 4 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp smoky paprika
- pinch of chilli flakes
- a few drops of hot sauce
- soft butter
- 80g Barber’s 1833 Farmhouse Vintage Reserve Cheddar
- 4 slices of bread
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F and cook the Whitby Whole Scampi for 15 minutes or a couple of minutes less than directions on the package.
- In the mean time, mix the mayonnaise with the smokey paprika, the chilli flakes and a few drops of hot sauce (I used 4 drops) and set aside.
- Generously butter two slices of bread – this will be the outside of the toastie.
- Coarsely grate the Barbers Vintage Reserve Cheddar Cheese.
- When the scampi is ready, place a non-stick frying pan on a low heat and place one (or two, depending on the size of your pan) slice of bread, buttered side down in it. Spread the unbuttered side which should be facing you, with half the spicy mayonnaise mixture, then top with about 7 or 8 pieces of scampi and half the grated cheese. Top with the other slice of bread, buttered side up and cover the pan with a lid. Check the underside after 1 ½ minutes – it should be golden brown. If not leave for a few more seconds.
- Using a spatula, lift the toastie out of the pan and flip it over and put it back in the pan. Press down gently and cook for another minute or until the underside is golden and the cheese has melted.
- Serve with a side of cornichons or pickles and lots of napkins!
23 thoughts on “Spicy “Po’ boy” Toastie”
Oh wow! The outside of that bread looks amazing!!! Great toasties 😀
My Gran used to make us cheese and tomato toasties and always buttered the outside of the bread, it was the best bit 😀😀😀 big yum!!!! In recent years, I have put olive oil on the outside of the bread, that’s good too xxx
Thanks Elaine – you do have to butter generously to get it crispy and brown – no point skimping at this point! How lovely that your Gran made toasties for you and I’ll give olive oil a go next time – thanks for the tip!
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I think you’ll like it – the best is olive oil on both sides of the bread! And great with cheese :) oh, the memories….!!!
Yeah, Gran did great toasties, she couldn’t really ruin them luckily!!!
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That sounds DIVINE! The description on the packet made me smile as well. I’m so glad you got to spend time with Jake, even if you had to ground him to do so! :D
The packaging is just so witty and appropriate – I can just see these being a bit hit in the Royal nursery, actually!! Love that you gave these a go already Celia – real comfort food. Yes, it was nice to spend some time with Jake outside of the house – it’s so rare these days – and so the empty nest syndrome begins…
This looks delicious Selma! I love po boys. I used to have to drag my son shopping kicking and screaming. His shoes could be falling off his feet and he wouldn’t want to go but I sure loved spending any time with him that I could!
Bahn mi are my favourite sandwiches ever. So cheap and sooo damn tasty. I want this toastie too though… 😁
I’ve not been to Vietnam but just love the food that I have tried here. Bahn mi sandwiches have been described so well that I can practically taste them!
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And the taste lingers 😜
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Ditto vietnamese food! Funny how Pho’s turned into comfort for us food rather than the old veggie soup we grew up with. Those toasties look amazing, tagged them :)
That is very true – though you can’t beat a good chicken noodle soup – Celia has a great one on her blog – I make it all the time!!
Lovely Selma……Jake was probably happy to have been grounded as he got to sample his mum’s delicious toasties :). Bet that vintage cheddar put it over the top. Love “po boy” sandwiches. Can’t wait to try it again in New Orleans when we visit in the Fall with a couple of British friends who will be meeting up with us in Nashville, Memphis and N.O.
He is never happy to be grounded and that is why I do it! It is the only thing that works. Plus he had exams so really needed not to be out late at the weekends. How wonderful that you are going to New Orleans – one of the places on my bottomless bucket list!! One of my favourite super bloggers lives there now – Joy the Baker. If you have time, take a look at what she recommends.
I’m only now catching up with posts past and present, therefore this belated comment! What a wonderful dish, Selma – I just admire your enthusiasm for and excitement about all things food! Funnily enough, when I think about trips – shopping or sightseeing – I also seem to remember the food in much more detail than anything else ;-)
Wooooow tempting share dear
These look really yummy! I had my first “po’ boy” experience last year, your toastie version definitely looks a worthy contender Selma!
I just had to stalk you because it appeared to me I had not seen you on any social media for a while . . . . and indeed . . . you must be enjoying Jake and the summer. But I WILL COMMENT on this post . . . love the toastie . . . . toastie sandwiches are so much easier to eat and sensuously delicious than regular coldies! This one’s a winner. Hope all’s well!
I adore toasties! Here in the Netherlands you will have them on the menu in most regular lunch places. But then typically there is just tomato or ham&tomato. What a FABULOUS idea to add scampi! I think I will not only eat them out but start making my own now :-)
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Absolutely love toasties and anything spicy so this works for me! Haha, love it! Pinned :)
Wow those toasties look awesome and so scrumptious! You’re making my mouth water!!
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Dear Keto … just so you know … unfortunately and very sadly, Selma died last summer.