Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Caramelized Pork Bánh mì

This is probably one my favorite pork sandwiches. The caramelized pork could be a recipe all its own, but you will absolutely love it in this sandwich. Most bánh mì are made with a rich and fatty ground pork but this seasoned tenderloin gives the sandwich character. Make sure you use a light, airy toll with a crisp crust - bánh mì is all about the interior.

Caramelized Pork Bánh mì
Serves 4 to 6

1-1.5 pound pork tenderloin
3 tablespoons Fish sauce
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 slice ginger, minced
1 green onion, sliced thinly
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 loaf sweet French baguette (thin) or French bread sandwich rolls
Red leaf lettuce
Pickled carrot and radishes (see below)
Sliced jalapeno chili peppers

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. Taste and adjust seasoning – it should be sweet and savory so add more soy, salt, or sesame oil as you like. Add marinade to the meat and use your hands or large spoon to make sure all pieces of meat are coated in marinade. Marinate for 10-30 minutes.

You can cook the pork on the grill outdoors (best) or indoors using a grill pan or cast iron pan, something that you can get very hot. Heat grill or grill pan to high and turn on that vent fan! 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.

To assemble sandwiches, slice baguette and spread mayonnaise on one side. Add lettuce, meat, pickled vegetables, cilantro and peppers. Dig in!

Pickled Carrots and Radishes
¼ pound baby carrots, peeled
1 bunch red radishes, preferably breakfast radishes (daikon is more traditional. I just think red radishes are beautiful.)
½ cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Slice carrots and radishes into quarters (or sixths for thicker guys) lengthwise. Mix all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning. Let stand as little as an hour or up to overnight. They keep for several days.

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