Part IX: Queen

9 May

152

What you’re looking at is the greatest sandwich ever conceived by human hands.  It’s not the first time someone’s made a claim like that, and I’m sure you, in your soon-to-be-realized ignorance, have excitedly texted your insignificant other that you “totally just had the best sandwich evarrrr”.   But I defy you to find a “best sandwich ever” that either

A: is only found at some off-the-highway shack in the middle of Rifle Hog, Alabamouisiana.

or

B: was something you made drunk at 3 A.M., a time when all your ideas are proceeded by an OMG and vomiting becomes an obstacle, not a consequence.


Banh Mi is different.  Banh Mi isn’t something you cobble together at midnight, stick a toothpick in and call it a damn night.  And it’s not something that only Ed from Ed’s Garbage Shack makes.  It’s the perfect combination of things to put on two slices of bread, and its got history.  People in Vietnam have been buying these for pennies before your dumb ass was fumbling through stacks of lunch meat, so it’s time to give up some respect.  Get ready for Banh Mi with Pork Meatballs.  

Here’s what you need:

Hot chili mayo (not technically necessary, but you’re gonna want it):

-2/3 cup mayonnaise

-2 green onions, finely chopped

-1 tablespoon sriracha

Meatballs:

-1 pound ground pork

-1/4 cup finely chopped basil

-4 garlic cloves, minced

-3 green onions, finely chopped

-1 tablespoon fish sauce

-1 tablespoon sriracha

-1 tablespoon sugar

-2 teaspoons cornstarch

-1 teaspoon black pepper

-1 teaspoon salt

Sandwiches:

-2 cups coarsely grated carrots

-2 cups coarsely grated daikon radish

-1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

-1/4 cup sugar

-1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

-1 tablespoon sesame oil

-4 baguettes

-Thinly sliced jalapeños

-Cilantro

-A cucumber

A note:

Meatballs aren’t the typical way to do banh mi.  Traditionally, you’re dealing with roast pork when you get one, or about a thousand other kinds of meat.  In fact, typical to America’s ability to fuck up a good thing, banh mi isn’t even the right term for what you’re about to put in your mouth.  All “banh mi” refers to is the baguette, not the entire sandwich itself.  That means if you decide to trek on over to Vietnam, all you’re gonna get is a hunk of bread and a slap in the face.  I don’t know if they actually do that, but I really hope that’s the national policy.

As a testament to the perfection of this sandwich, the first part happens to be both the easiest and the most important (and no, I’m not going to put “arguably” the most important.  It is the most important, so I’m not going to argue with you on it.  Just make the damn recipe.)

  

Chop up your carrots and daikon.

  

Then toss the carrots, daikon, salt, sugar, and rice vinegar in a bowl, let it sit at room temperature while you do the rest, toss it around once in a while, and it’ll be ready by the time you’re slapping meat to bread.  Or if you want to do it ahead of time, stick it in a jar like I did.

It’s really hard to screw up meatballs.  Really, really hard.  If you have two working hands and half a cortex you’re pretty much set.

062  069

Just put all the meatball ingredients (I know, we’re getting into some hardcore cooking theory here) in a bowl, mix them, and make them into balls.  There you go.

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Next, heat your oven to 300 and heat up your sesame oil in a pan on medium-high.  Add as many meatballs as you can, and let them brown for about 15 minutes.  Turn the heat down if they start to burn.  Also don’t test the pan with your face, and make sure you’re not on fire every five minutes.  Can you tell I’m not a big fan of obvious cooking advice?

When they’re ready, put the sautéed meatballs in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet and leave them in there while the other meatballs are sautéing.  Add a little more sesame oil before you add the second batch.

Once the second batch’s done, take your first batch out and put the second batch in the oven for another 15 minutes.

134  132  128  130

While you’re waiting on those, chop up your cilantro and jalapeños, slice up some cucumber, and make your chili mayo by mixing together your green onions, sriracha and (shocker) mayo.  Also toast up those baguettes.  Nobody likes a sad baguette.

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Take your meatballs out, drain your pickled vegetables, and pile everything on a baguette.  Place inside mouth.  Never want another sandwich again.  

You are gonna want some beats, though.  Here’s Coleman’s Cliff, by The Outer Rim: 

There you have it: the queen of sandwiches.  Anything else is blasphemy, and I defy you to defy me after you eat one.  Hell, I shouldn’t even write anything else after this.  I should just end this blog right here and now, pull a reverse Michael Jordan, and retire on top.  But I won’t.  See you next time, people.

Recipe from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pork-Meatball-Banh-Mi-356790

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