banh mi = yummy

yes i know, lame title. you’ll get over it. i’ve had many banh mis during my relatively short time as an adult and i can honestly say they’re one of my absolute favorite sandwiches. pork, a vinegary fresh vegetable slaw, lots of heat by way of jalapenos and sriracha? what’s not to love? i’ve never made one though because i’ve always felt that any version i’d make would in no way be “traditional” or live up to previous banh mi perfection i’ve eaten, but the more i saw recipes for the sandwich, the more i saw so many different versions. which one constitutes “traditional?” i do not know, but i know they’re delicious and i needed something to go with french fries so i selected the recipe for “Quickie Banh Mi,” courtesy Serious Eats. I did, of course, make substitutions and subtractions, as i do not keep bottles of sriracha on hand and wasn’t going to buy a whole large one to waste, nor do i have access to (or a taste for) pate. still, i think my version was pretty fantastic. AAAAND and – i used anthony bourdain’s recipe for frites and now have another reason to love the man. my handcut fries used to be distinctly not that great (though honestly, the worst fry in the world is still pretty good) and bourdain saved them for me. who knew a soak in ice water and blanching them in low temperature oil then frying them in high temp oil would make them soft in the middle and fabulously crisp on the outside? who knew? everybody but me? oh okay then, i’ll stop talking about it.

Quickie Banh Mi
recipe adapted from Serious Eats

You Need:

boneless pork chops (they used thin – i used regular rib chops that i cut away from the bone. they weren’t outstandingly thick so i didn’t butterfly them or anything)
flour
salt and pepper
oil
cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into thin matchsticks (julienned)
carrot, peeled, and shaved with a potato peeler, lengthwise
onion, sliced thinly
rice wine vinegar
baguettes or bolillo rolls
mayo
cilantro
jalepeno, cut into slices

in a bowl, combine the sliced cucumber, carrot shavings, and onions. douse it fairly liberally with the rice wine vinegar. add a little salt and pepper. cover and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. heat some oil in a pan. salt and pepper the flour. lightly dredge the pork chops in the flour. fry, until golden brown and crisp. i kept these warm in a low heat oven (and to make sure they were totally cooked through. you can stove finish them if you want, i just think they get tough if they cook too long on the stove). throw your sandwich rolls in the oven to warm while you’re at it. when the chops are done, chop them into slices, then into smaller pieces, if you want. split your rolls, slather one side with mayo. place some pork chop into the roll. top with the vegetables, some cilantro, and jalapeno slices. there you go. seriously quick bahn mi.

Anthony Bourdain’s Frites
recipe from Les Halles cookbook

You Need:

idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
oil (peanut or canola)
salt

assemble a large bowl of ice water. plunge your potato sticks in there and let them sit awhile, or the same amount of time that your slaw is sitting up there. drain and rinse well. heat oil in a deep fryer (or a big pot) to 250-280. no hotter. in batches, blanch your fries until they’re slightly soft and opaque. set these aside on cookie sheets. when they’ve all been blanched, heat the oil to 375. when it has come up to temp, in batches again, cook your fries until golden brown. drain, salt, and serve immediately.

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