A spooky, but incredibly tasty, riff on a po’ boy sandwich? Today we are making the Edgar Allan Poe-boy sandwich from Code Romantic!
In a post-apocalyptic world that’s been taken over the @ware, you need to learn to code in order to reprogram the evil AI that has taken over and is killing humanity.
That’s the premise behind Code Romantic – a romantic visual novel that teaches you to code, created by my friend Miko!
When I first started tossing around the idea of developing food from indie games, I knew I wanted to see if there was something I could make out of Code Romantic. After all – the whole point behind this is supporting indie game companies while ALSO getting to be really creative with food, and what better game than one that was developed by a good friend?
I played through the entire game, for… you know… research… and it is just. so. good.
THAT ENDING THOUGH. MIKO.
We decided upon the Poe Boy Sandwich, which comes from Cup of Poe – an Edgar Allen Poe-themed cafe inside the Literary Land theme park where most of the story is based.
Her one suggestion was that it be spooky… and I can work with that!
I decided to riff off of this recipe from Lady and Pups, because it looks DELICIOUS, and is interesting enough to – in my mind at least – deserve the moniker of an Edgar Allen Poe-boy sandwich. We’ll get to the spooky in a moment.
We’ll start by making the tartar sauce.
This sauce starts with a base of mayonnaise – we’re using classic, creamy Best Foods here.
Then a hard-boiled egg, peeled and finely chopped. This is one of the several ingredients that will pump up the umami in the sauce, and adds to the richness as well.
And then, anise-scented thai basil! We bought a bunch online, and we’re actually in the process of propagating and planting it! I know we’ve been slacking a little on creating gardening videos, BUT we’re filming the entire process of growing our Thai basil, so there definitely will be a gardening video soon – and there will be a link up here when it’s available! Hopefully there will be a TON of Thai basil in our future, because while we may not be huge fans of black licorice, we really do love this fragrant, licoricey herb.
Next, we’re adding the creepy to this Edgar Allen Poe-boy sandwich. The original recipe called for anchovies, and if you’re making this at home you can go with that or even leave them out – it’s up to you! But for me, this was the perfect place to substitute in a tablespoon of squid ink – you’ll get the same fishy umami in the end result, but it’ll turn your sauce a spooky black color too.
Finely chop up a tablespoon of pickled jalapeños, for a mild and slightly tangy spice.
Then, half a tablespoon of chopped capers – these will add even MORE umami to your sauce, as well as a salty little pop.
We also want the bite of some finely minced shallots – we’re covering nearly every flavor component in this dish!
A little Dijon mustard rounds out the sauce by adding a faintly vinegary spice.
The recipe calls for lime juice, but I happened to have the opportunity to buy some finger limes! If you haven’t seen them before, finger limes are just the coolest little creepy food. They’re shaped like fingers, but if you break one open and squeeze it, all these little pearls of lime juice ooze out, looking like little pink fish eggs. They are a delightfully tart little pop in your mouth, but they’re not quite as strong as normal lime juice. I squeezed out the pearls and added them as-is to the sauce – the little pops of tartness as you eat it are a lot of fun!
Lastly, a little freshly ground black pepper for that subtle earthy spice.
Mix that all together, really really well – you’ll see it go from a rainbow of colors to totally black! Then pop it in the fridge, and let the flavors combine while you prepare the sandwich fillings.
Now we’re on to the breading!
Mandy’s original recipe for fried oysters is based off of Tawianese-style fried foods – which use Taiwanese tapioca flour. It’s a bit different from the tapioca flour you find elsewhere, in that there are larger bits in it that add some crunch.
So her recipe mimics that by using a combination of tapioca flour, fine cornmeal, and coarse cornmeal for that extra crunch. The combination results in a very light but very crunchy crust. Do not leave out that coarse cornmeal, those crunchy bits are so good!
Then, for flavor, we add in salt, ground black pepper, AND ground white pepper. The sharper black pepper and earthier white pepper both add the complexity of flavor here.
Whisk that all together, and that’s it for your breading!
A couple more things to do before we fry:
Pour about half a cup of whole milk in another small bowl.
Finely mince a couple of cloves of garlic, and add those to a large bowl. We’ll be using this after we fry.
And now it’s time for frying! Heat a couple of inches of oil – vegetable, canola, or peanut would work well here – in a heavy-bottomed pot or deep pan. I aimed for around 350F, but you can also tell it’s ready if bubbles form around a wooden chopstick or spoon handle when you place it in the hot oil.
Instead of oysters, I decided to use shimeji mushrooms. They’ve got a cute little round shape that will work well for this, and there’s always something a little spooky about mushrooms. Plus, I figured they might be more readily available in a post-apocalyptic world!
Cut off the caps, and dip them in the milk. Then drain them a little, and coat them in the breading.
When you place them in the oil, they’ll spatter a good bit. But since I didn’t have a problem with them sticking to each other, I found that I could add a bunch at one time and immediately cover it with a lid or splatter screen.
Cook them until the popping sounds subside, and they’re golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, let the oil drain a little, and transfer to the bowl with the chopped garlic. Repeat with the rest of the mushroom caps. (You can also cook the stems like this, if you’d like – they have more of a lobster-like texture than the caps, and we found them to be really tasty!)
Once all your mushrooms are cooked, it’s time to fry your Thai basil! Wash and thoroughly dry a big handful or so of Thai basil, and then add it all at once to your frying oil. These will pop LIKE CRAZY, way more than the mushrooms did – we both got splattered with hot oil. Make sure you have your lid or splatter screen ready to go, and cover the pot immediately!
It won’t be long until the popping and sizzling subside entirely, and that means it’s time to remove your Thai basil leaves from the oil, drain them, and add them to the bowl with your mushrooms and garlic.
Add a little salt, ground white pepper, and ground black pepper to the bowl, to make sure everything is well seasoned… and then toss it all together!
Try not to snack on too many – I know you’re getting your fingers in there – because it’s finally time to make your sandwich!
You can make this with an Italian hero roll, french bread, or ciabatta… OR you can check out our Sushi Labs from last week and make your own NOLA french bread! We went with the King Arthur recipe for our sandwiches.
Lightly toast your bread, then slice it in half and remove some of the bread from the center of your rolls. This will give more room in the middle for your fillings, and result in a less bready sandwich.
Generously spread both halves of the roll with the squid ink tartar sauce that we made.
And then fill it with as many of the fried mushrooms as will fit.
Close the sandwich, and serve with more finger lime (or lime juice) and tabasco sauce – and enjoy this messy, spooky, incredibly delicious sandwich!
And if you know anyone else who would love this spooky but oh so tasty sandwich, don’t forget to share the love, and send them a link to this post too!
POE BOY SANDWICH
adapted from Lady and Pups
Black tartar sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped Thai basil
- 1 tbsp squid ink
- 1 tbsp finely chopped pickled jalapeño
- 1/2 tbsp finely chopped capers
- 2 tsp finely minced shallots
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tbsp finger lime pearls
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (60g) tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup (58g) fine cornmeal
- 1 1/2 tbsp (17g) coarse cornmeal
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 lb shimeji mushrooms
- 1 large handful Thai basil leaves
- 2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
- sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 roll of NOLA-style french bread
- finger lime pearls and Tabasco sauce to serve
- To make the tartar sauce: Mix together all the ingredients evenly, then let sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour for flavours to combine.
- To make the poe boy: Whisk evenly all the ingredients under “Breading” except the milk, and set aside. Rinse the Thai basil leaves clean then dab-dry with a clean towel, set aside. Clean your mushrooms and remove stems and/or roots. Place the minced garlic in another large bowl for tossing together later with the fried mushrooms. Slice the roll open, and remove some of the excess bread inside to make room for the fillings.
- Heat 2″ of vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat (if it starts bubbling up quickly around a wooden chopstick that’s inserted into the middle, the oil is ready). Dip the mushrooms in the milk, then coat them evenly with the breading. You can do several at a time. Gently lower the breaded mushrooms into the oil, and cover with the lid or a splatter screen to avoid splatters. Once the mushrooms are golden-brown, remove with a slotted spoon, let drain, and place in the bowl with the minced garlic. Continue until all the mushrooms are fried. Gently toss the fried mushrooms and minced garlic together.
- To fry the Thai basil leaves, drop them into the oil all at once, then immediately cover the pot with the lid or splatter screen, with only a slight opening for steam to escape. The splatter will quickly subside in a few seconds. Fry the leaves for another few seconds until the sizzling stops, then remove with a slotted spoon, gently shake off excess oil, and place in the bowl with the fried mushrooms and minced garlic. Sprinkle with salt, ground white pepper, and ground black pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
- Apply a generous amount of tartar sauce on both halves of the roll. Pile the fried mushrooms on top, close the sandwich, and serve with finger lime and tabasco sauce.
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