The Bánh Mi Sandwich
I have a lot of favorite sandwiches, however Bánh Mi has got to be up near the top of the list. If you have never had a Bánh Mi sandwich, you must seek one out. I will admit that while living in Dallas, Texas for a handful of years, I was blessed with great Vietnamese restaurants that served pho, as well as awesome bánh mi. I will also admit that Milwaukee, Wisconsin has nothing in terms of a bánh mi shop. Rumor has it that some Asian markets get them shipped to their shops on Friday, but I have yet to see one, and with that said, some times you just can’t wait for something this wonderful to arrive at your feet. You have to make it yourself.
Don’t get caught up with the name, or how to pronounce it, just remember the letters that make up this sandwich. If you see a sign for it, go get yourself one. You will be introduced with a sub sandwich, that is served on a great baguette, and loaded with the best flavors and textures out there. What I love about the bánh mi, is that it is very flexible in what you can load into it. My favorite has always been the traditional grilled meat, paté, and pickled vegetables, along with some great spicy peppers. All I can do when explaining this sandwich is that it is the perfect combination of flavors in every bite. Creaminess from the mayonnaise, freshness from cilantro, a bit of sweet and sour from the pickled vegetables, some coolness from the cucumbers, and a bit of salty heat from the grilled pork and peppers. Give this sandwich a shot next time you are in the mood for something wonderful.
Ingredients for Grilled Pork Bánh Mi Sandwich:
- Great French Baguette, should be soft, with a slight crust, split lengthwise, however not all the way through
- Grilled Asian Pork (here or here), thinly sliced
- English Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Pork Paté, sliced
- Thinly sliced Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers, or whole Thai bird chilies
- Fresh cilantro sprigs
- Pickled Carrots and Daikon
Begin by making your pickling mixture. You can do this ahead of time.
- 3 carrots, thinly sliced, about 3 inches long
- 1 large daikon, thinly sliced, about 3 inches long
- 1 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- 4 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp of salt
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1/2 serrano chili
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of dill
Begin by adding the vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic to a sauce pan, and cook on medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the bay leaf, serrano pepper, and a pinch of the dill. Remove the pan from the heat and let this come to room temperature. Fill a mason jar, or Tupperware container full of the sliced daikon and carrots. Add the pickling liquid, and place in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, however the longer the better. Trust me, you can eat these alone, they are that great.
To make your sandwich, have everything ready. Spread the mayonnaise on the top part of the baguette. Layer the paté on the bottom of the baguette. Now you can begin to layer. Add the thinly sliced cucumbers, grilled pork, peppers, and stack in the pickled veggies and cilantro sprigs. Open wide, and begin to experience a whole new world of flavors.
Keep in mind that you can diversify this sandwich by adding beef, going all veggie and adding a nicely marinated tofu, or with grilled chicken. Whatever you decide, use the fillings noted above for something really delicious, but however you stack it, my bet is that it will begin to make it to the top of your sandwich list as well. Enjoy.