There are very few things better than a delicious, fresh bánh mì from the Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia. Yes, you can get one other places too. I have also had plenty of good and great bánh mì in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Combine the crispy bread with the spicy jalapenos, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro and pâté, and whatever else you’ve chosen, and you really have the ultimate sandwich (yes, this is true, despite the lack of pork belly).
I’ve made pickled carrots and daikon in the past, but sadly they were not toppings for my own bánh mì. Ideally, these sandwiches would be good for a group of people, making a large batches of pickled veggies and fresh baguettes, but maybe another time. In this instance, I came upon a recipe for carmelized pork bánh mì from Food 52. This version has you pickling some radishes, adding pre-made pâté and the kicker… caramelized pork tenderloin. I opted to make a couple for myself, with a smaller portion of pork, but the recipe from Food 52 makes 4 to 6 sandwiches. If you’ve had bánh mì before, they usually aren’t too large, and if you are really hungry, you could eat two of them. In this case, I dare you not to eat two.
Makes 4-6 sandwhiches
Recipe from Food 52
1-1.5 pound pork tenderloin
3 tablespoons Fish sauce
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 slice ginger, minced
1 green onion, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 loaf sweet French baguette (thin) or french bread sandwich rolls. Try to get the kind of French bread with a crisp crust and tender light center.
pickled carrot and radishes (see here or the food 52 version below)
sliced jalapeno chili peppers
Pâté (optional, but recommended)
mayonnaise (homemade is ideal)
Cut tenderloin across the grain of the meat into ½ inch pieces. Flatten each piece to an even ¼ inch between two pieces of saran wrap using a meat pounder, rolling pin, or large bottle.
Mix ingredients from fish sauce to black pepper. Add marinade to the meat and use your hands, ensure all the meat is coated Marinate for 10-30 minutes (I opted to marinate overnight)
Using an outdoor grill or grill pan indoors: add vegetable oil to meat and stir to coat. Sear first side of meat until very dark brown on one side, then flip and sear on the second side. Be careful not to overcook it. The meat is thin so it cooks quickly, one or two minutes on each side and then set aside on a plate or platter.
To assemble sandwiches, slice baguette and spread mayonnaise on one side, pâté on the other. Add meat, pickled vegetables, cilantro and peppers and enjoy!!
Pickled radishes and carrots:
1/4 pound baby carrots, peeled
1 bunch red radishes or daikon
1/2 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Slice carrots and radishes into quarters (or smaller if they are larger) lengthwise. Mix all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning. Let stand as little as an hour or up to overnight. They keep for several days.**
**Store in a mason jar for best preservation.