Thursday, October 24, 2013

eating my share: the stacked and loaded life of sandwiches

The first time I saw a photo of a banh mi sandwich I was intrigued. It took some time before I got around to actually trying one but the love that started with a picture continued with first bite. And while I've never aimed to be authentic in my creations, I've made multiple variations on the banh mi theme using pork meatballs, sliced beef and marinated tofu. Banh mi noodle salad is another way I've enjoyed these Vietnamese flavors.

Despite being adaptable, there are a few things that every banh mi sandwich must have. One is a carrot and radish pickle. Usually daikon radish is used but because we've gotten the french breakfast variety in our shares the last two weeks, that's what I used here. Sliced jalapeños and spicy mayo are also considered essential. Fresh herbs like mint and cilantro help to perk things up. In my opinion, these ingredients provide a the basic banh mi flavor profile.

This week, I wanted to do something with that grand ol' sweet potato we picked up on Tuesday. Cut into thick rounds and roasted, it became the "meat" of my latest banh mi creation. And because I had some hamburger buns in the freezer, this sandwich became a burger. It's a departure from the authentic version but it's a satisfying deviation that vegetarians can happily enjoy.

sweet potato banh mi "burger"

quick carrot radish jalapeño pickles
2 tbs white sugar
2 tbs hot water
3 tbs rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
1 cup radish, thinly sliced into matchsticks
2-3 jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced into matchsticks

Combine sugar, hot water, vinegar and salt in a quart-sized jar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add in the vegetables, cover the jar and shake around to combine well. Let sit for 30 minutes or make ahead and store in the fridge until ready to use.

roasted sweet potato rounds
one very large sweet potato, sliced into 1/4inch rounds

Preheat the oven to 350. Lay out the rounds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Use your hands or a spoon to coat all slices evenly. Roast at 350 for 20 minutes. Increase the heat to 400, switch racks and and roast another 15 minutes.

spicy herbed mayo spread
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 tbs lime juice
2 tbs greek yogurt
2 tbs mayo
1 tsp sriracha, plus more to taste
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with salt.

stack it up
Grab some burger buns and assemble! Layer the bottom bun with spicy herbed mayo, topped with four sweet potato rounds, mounded with a pile of carrot/radish/jalapeño pickles. Top with extra cilantro leaves. And once again, a Zephyr Farm fried egg on top really takes it to the next level...

Do you have any awesome banh-mi-eating experiences? Or is it time to create some?