Monday, August 8, 2011

Banh Mi, Banh You!

Many years ago, on a trip to Chicago, my husband and I stumbled across a fabulous restaurant called Le Colonial. The setting was candlelit and orchid strewn, very romantic. I was instantly charmed by the vibrant flavors of French-Vietnamese cuisine. I especially loved the combinations of fragrant herbs like basil, cilantro, and mint.  Le Colonial has restaurants in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. If you get a chance, you should go. However, until then, try this recipe for Pork Meatball Banh Mi sandwiches by Jeanne Thiel Kelley from the January 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. I've replaced the daikon with some cucumber slices and the fish sauce with soy sauce. The result is an amazing sandwich that is great for a summer dinner. I've even made these into burgers before (grilling them and with kaiser rolls). The result was great. Maybe at my next neighborhood block party, I'll bring these as burgers; or, maybe I'll just save them for me! Serve with salt and vinegar chips and a cold beer. There won't be any leftovers! Believe me, this picture doesn't do it justice.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

Serves 4


For the Hot Chili Mayo:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce or chili garlic sauce (e.g., sriracha)

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce or chili garlic sauce (e.g., sriracha)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sandwiches:
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4, 10-inch individual baguettes or 4, 10-inch pieces french baguette (cut from 2 baguettes), or Vietnamese Baguettes
Thinly sliced cucumber
16 large fresh cilantro sprigs
Thinly sliced jalapeno (optional, depends how hot you like it)


For the Hot Chili Mayo:
Stir all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Cover and chill.  Can be made a day before.

For the Meatballs:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap.  Gently mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Roll the meatballs into 1 inch balls and arrange on the baking sheet.  Cover and chill.  Can be made a day before.

For the Sandwiches:
Toss the carrots, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Allow to sit for 1 hour or so, tossing occasionally.

Using a large, wide skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs.  (If they don't fit, you may have to do 2 batches and keep warm in the oven.)  Saute until brown and cooked through, turning often and lowering heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Cut each baguette horizontally in half, but not all the way through one edge.  Pull out enough bread from each half to leave a 1/2 inch thick shell.  Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell.  Arrange cucumbers on bottom half.  Arrange jalapenos on top half (if using).  Sprinkle evenly with the cilantro.  Fill each with 1/4 of the meatballs.  Drain the carrots and sprinkle over the meatballs.  Squash the sandwich down a little and enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment