Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

Sometimes, I strive for authenticity—with frantic Google image searches, cookbook consulting, crowdsourcing—but other days, I'm just out for delicious flavors coming out of my kitchen in various iterations.

Last night I went the banh mi route, using a baguette and carrots I had delivered by Indie Plate here in Baton Rouge. There's much debate about the right bread for banh mi, but you should be well off with a baguette from the local bakery: delicate crust, soft, chewy interior. Err on the lighter side.

For the vegetable spread, I grated my vegetables finely that they spread onto the bread slices with ease after marinating in the sugar and rice vinegar. Fine by me!

Finish with a slick of sriracha mayo, press it all together, and chow down.

Next time: Need to find a good side. Anyone for kimchi fries?

Pork Meatball Banh Mi
Yield: 2 servings


For the meatballs:
8 oz. ground pork
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons sriracha
1/2 tablespoon flour
3 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil (for cooking)

For the sandwiches:2/3 cup carrots
2/3 cup radishes (I used regular because Whole Foods didn't have daikon)
2/3 cup cucumber
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon sriracha
1, 2-foot baguette, sliced into four sections and halved
2 oz. fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced jalapenos


For the meatballs: 1. Mix together all ingredients except sesame oil in a large mixing bowl. Form into 1.5-inch balls and set in a baking pan covered with plastic wrap. Cover and chill for 20–30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 300. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and brown on both sides for 15 minutes. Then put the meatballs on a baking pan covered with foil and place in oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking.

For the sandwiches:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine vegetables, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir and let sit at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally.
2. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise and sriracha. Cover and chill until ready to use.
3. To make sandwiches, Spread one slice of each sandwich with sriracha mayo, then top with cilantro and jalapenos. On the other slide, spread vegetable mixture and then top with meatballs. Press slices together and serve.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Take on the Spanglish Sandwich

Spanglish is a nice little movie that will make me pause when flipping the channels. Cloris Leachman! Tolerable Adam Sandler! Eli Gold's daughter! Téa Leoni (playing a nightmare)! And of course I can understand the hubba-hubba factor of Paz Vega.

Then there's that sandwich.

Late one night, in the throes of ... some stress or another, fake-movie-chef Adam Sandler cobbles together the sandwich of dreams. And we, the salivating viewers, lean a little closer to the screen.

Bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, crunchy bread. It seems simple but looks exotic, ethereal almost.

So it should come as no surprise by now that I've made this sandwich a few times. I had to! Various iterations, all compiled eagerly and hopefully. Then enjoyed immensely.

Here's a simple iteration that should soothe your soul. I got for Creole mustard rather than mayo, spinach rather than butter lettuce, whole-wheat versus "rustic country bread." Added Swiss cheese on top of the Monterey Jack. Oh, and I fried the egg and browned the tomato in rendered bacon fat. As you do.

(Disclaimer: I am not a health nut.)


Spanglish Sandwich

(the "No Grocery Trip" edition)

Makes 2 sandwiches.

Ingredients:4 slices multi-grain sandwich bread
2 slices Monterey Jack
2 slices Swiss
4 slices bacon
2 eggs
2 slices tomato
2 oz. spinach
1 tablespoon Creole mustard

1. Heat cast-iron over medium. Add bacon slices and fry, pressing down with a spatula to render the fat. Reserve on a paper towel, pressing down to degrease.
2. Meanwhile, toast bread slices—two in the toaster. The other two will be toasted under the broiler with a slice of Monterey Jack and a slice of Swiss on top of each piece of bread. Toast for about five minutes until cheese has started to melt.
3. Return to your cast-iron and pour off a little bit of the rendered bacon grease. Add tomato slices and brown for 2–3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
4. Crack eggs into skillet and lower heat as the edges start to set. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cover the skillet and let cook for 3 minutes.
5. Compile each sandwich as such: spread one slice of the bread with mustard. Add tomato, then spinach. On other slice (the side with cheese on it), add fried egg, then bacon. Press together and enjoy!
6. Oh yeah, grab some napkins.