Recipe: Bánh Mì

For Easter, I made an Italian pork roast called porchetta. The labor-intensive recipe came from my favorite bread book, Tartine Bread.  The Tartine recipe starts with a boneless butterflied pork shoulder. This gets smeared with a mix of olive oil, fennel tops, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and — because this is a bread book — bread crumbs. Then you roll the whole thing up like a rug and bind it with string.

The roast should resemble a Hostess Ho Ho, albeit with pork instead of cake and fennel stuffing instead of cream. This pork Ho Ho gets roasted at 220 degrees for 8-10 hours. I did the roasting while I slept, but I wouldn’t recommend this. My dreams were haunted by pigs, smoke alarms, and kitchen fires. Sweet dreams aren’t made of these.

The pork turned out delicious. But the stuffing was . . . meh . . . not great. First, there was way too much of it. Second, it was too fennel-y. Or too bread-y. Definitely too something. I may try this recipe next.

On the bright side, we had tons of leftover pork. Tartine recommended making Vietnamese sandwiches aka bánh mì. And so I did.

Bánh Mì Sandwiches (adapted from Tartine Bread)

(serves 4)

Leftover pork (really any kind will do)
Pâté (optional)
One baguette, sliced lengthwise and quartered
One bunch cilantro
One bunch basil
One cucumber, sliced thin
Garlic-Lime-Fish Sauce (recipe follows)
Herb Mayo (recipe follows)
Pickled Vegetables (recipe follows)
First, make the pickled vegetables, herb mayo, and garlic-lime-fish sauce. Once you have your ingredients assembled, toast your baguette halves. Spread one half with a generous dollop of herb mayo sauce. Spread pâté on the other half. Or, if you think pate is disgusting (I do!), leave one side bare. Or spread both sides with herb mayo. Next, pile some pork on the bottom half of your baguette. Sprinkle the pork with a teaspoon or two of garlic-lime-fish sauce. Pile on some pickled veggies. Top with sliced cucumber. Add basil and cilantro leaves to taste, and carefully place the other piece of baguette on top.
Congratulations! You just made a delicious sandwich. Eat and enjoy!

Pickled Vegetables

2-4 radishes
2-3 carrots
1 red onion
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

Mix vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Slice 2-4 radishes into very thin rounds. Halve red onion and slice thin. Peel 2-3 carrots and chop into matchsticks. Place vegetables in vinegar mixture and soak at least 30 minutes.

Herb Mayo

1/2 cup mayo
handful cilantro
handful basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 serrano or jalapeño chile, chopped (or less if you don’t like heat)
1/2 tsp salt
juice from half a lime 

Combine all ingredients and blend with a food processor, blender, or hand blender.

Garlic-Lime-Fish Sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 3 limes
1 tsp chili oil (optional)
2 Tbsp fish sauce 

Whisk everything together in a small bowl. Simple!

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