Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Banh Mi Tragedy ... Averted!

This was going to be the story of a sandwich, but it turned into a bigger story: a story of crushing disappointment, quick thinking, fortuitious planning (not) and ultimately, overcoming adversity. But at its heart, really it's still just a sandwich story.

So, we were going to make banh mi for dinner last night. What is/are banh mi you ask? They are yummy little Vietnamese sandwiches. Threads testifying to the wondrousness of banh mi can be found here. A basic definition is here. Very yummy and seemed like something we could make at home. And then I saw this post on Cookthink for a very easy banh mi-esque sandwich. Ergo, banh mi on the menu.

Now, the tragedy ... when we cut open the cryovacked bag which held the pork tenderloin we were going to grill, waves of stinky-stank-stink issued forth. This has never happened to me before, but ick - our pork (our organic-no-antibiotics-or-hormones-added-EXPENSIVE-pork) was rotten. It was really foul - we'll leave it at that.

So, what to do?

Well. Due to some overzealous provisioning, we had a fairly sizable leftover piece of grilled sirloin leftover from Sunday. So, we sliced it up thin, tossed it with fish sauce and a wee bit of five-spice powder (available at the supermarket), and we were off to the races.

There is no picture of the actual sandwich. By the time we made them, we were too hungry to stop to play paparazzi. Here is a lovely picture of the "before" however.

This is a very general recipe. The basic idea is: asian-spiced meat, shredded carrot or cucumber, green herbs, lime juice, baguette-y bread. If you can get some Vietnamese cold cuts, definitely give them a try.

Banh Mi de la Casa

Per sandwich:
  • 2-3 oz. cooked pork, beef, chicken, or fried tofu - spiced with five-spice powder and a little lime juice or fish sauce
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded, toss with a squeeze of lime juice
  • small handful herbs, rough chopped: thai basil, mint, cilantro, scallion
  • minced hot chilies (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (trust me)
  • 6" or so of baguette
  • Lime juice and or/fish sauce
Prep your ingredients. Slice the baguette in half, but all the way through and open the bread up like a book. Warm the baguette in the toaster or oven. Smear the baguette with mayo, sprinke with chilies, if using.

Layer the remaining ingredients into the sandwich. Sprinkle with a little lime juice and/or fish sauce. Eat.

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