Delicate, fried balls of tuna prepared Louisiana style and topped with a homemade remoulade sauce sounds like the perfect Cajun sandwich if you ask me! These Mini Cajun Tuna Po Boys are perfect as an appetizer or as a way to enjoy a smaller, more approachable take on a New Orleans classic.
What is a po boy sandwich?
In my most straightforward way to describe it, it’s a sandwich. And most of the time, it’s a reasonably large one! Meats like roast beef or seafood (shrimp and catfish are the most popular) are cradled between sliced, toasted, soft, french bread then topped with shredded lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and slathered in mayo or remoulade sauce. There is typically no cheese added, and the non-seafood versions may come with mustard or a hearty gravy instead of mayo or remoulade.
Growing up in Louisiana, po’boy sandwiches were (and still are) a staple in the community. You had the options of fried shrimp, crawfish, catfish, and even oyster po’ poys, but my favorite had was the oyster version, hands down! I remember being able to eat at least two of these in one sitting during my college football days.
As I have gotten older, I definitely can not eat that way anymore. On top of that, I made some dietary changes that prevented me from enjoying some of the recipes I used to devour back in the day. Hence the reason I came up with this alternative — an easy swap of tuna in the place of crab, crawfish, or oysters, and I was back in the game!
With this recipe, you get all the flavors you would expect from a seafood-filled po’boy but in a version perfect for those who simply want to try something new or others, like me, who don’t (or can’t) eat shellfish. It’s a win-win situation.
Ingredients you’ll need:
For the fried tuna balls, you’ll combine canned albacore tuna, mayonnaise, relish, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, ground mustard, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, red cayenne pepper, organic brown eggs, and breadcrumbs. The eggs, parmesan, and breadcrumbs ensure the mini balls remain moist while frying.
After mixing those ingredients, the balls are formed and are coated in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and parsley.
You’ll need mayonnaise, relish, lemon juice, ketchup, Louisiana hot sauce, creole seasoning, white ground pepper, horseradish sauce, dijon mustard, paprika, garlic powder, and red cayenne pepper for the homemade remoulade sauce.
While the traditional po boys use french bread, I went with mini brioche rolls for this recipe, and instead of shredded lettuce, I chose arugula. Sliced tomatoes are a must.
How to make mini tuna po boys:
Drain tuna and break it down into smaller pieces. In a bowl, combine tuna with mayo, dill pickle relish, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, ground mustard, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and red cayenne pepper.
In a separate bowl, add eggs and lightly beat them. Add the slightly beaten eggs to the bowl of tuna ingredients and add in the breadcrumbs. Mix ingredients and form the tuna into small to medium-sized balls using your hands.
In a separate bowl, pour in the panko breadcrumbs and parsley. Roll each formed tuna ball in the panko mixture until completely covered.
Heat a cooking pan to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Once the pan is heated, add the tuna balls.
Each tuna ball should cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown on each side. You will need to flip the tuna balls every few minutes or so to make sure they cook evenly.
For the remoulade sauce, combine mayo, dill pickle relish, lemon juice, ketchup, Louisiana hot sauce, Creole seasoning, white ground pepper, horseradish, Dijon mustard, paprika, and red pepper.
Layer each mini brioche rolls with arugula, sliced tomatoes, fried tuna balls, and remoulade sauce to serve.
If you are allergic to shellfish, have other dietary restrictions, or just crave a great-tasting seafood sandwich, this tuna fish Po Boy will make you feel as if you’ve landed smack dab in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans.
The southern fried flavors added to this dish give this dinner (or lunch) idea two thumbs up. And my homemade remoulade sauce seals the deal.
And speaking of Po Boys, you should also check out my Cajun Chicken Sausage Po Boy!Print