Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

There are days when I'm making something new for dinner and I just know that my husband is going to looove it. The pork meatball banh mi was one of those days. I was practically giddy at the thought of surprising him with this bad boy. And I wasn't let down, he did love it. But the big surprise was that this former vegetarian flipped for it too. True, mine was the wimped down version (no jalapeño layer), but still.

Makes 4 sandwiches

Hot Chili Mayo:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)*

1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce* (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)

2 cups coarsely grated carrots
2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish) or regular radish
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
4 10-inch individual baguettes (or 4 10-inch pieces French baguette, cut from 2 baguettes)
thinly sliced jalapeños or jarred pickled jalapeños (optional)
16 large fresh cilantro sprigs

*Available in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Hot Chili Mayo:
Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt to taste. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap or foil. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Toss ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

1.      Preheat oven to 300° F. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs. Sauté until brown and cooked through, turning meatballs often and lowering heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven to keep warm.

2.      Cut each baguette horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell. Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro, in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain slaw; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

slightly adapted from Jeanne Thiel Kelley

hot chili mayo ingredients
hot chili mayo mixed
meatball ingredients
meatball ingredients mixed
meatballs formed
meatballs cooking
carrot/daikon slaw

Actually, I couldn't find a daikon, so I used plain old radishes.
spreading the hot chili mayo
sliced jalapeño
fresh jalapeños
Even though this wasn't my sandwich (it was Chuck's),
I was too nervous to leave all those raw
jalapeños on there,
so I panicked and switched to pickled. He said he was glad I did.
cilantro layer
meatball layer
slaw on top
I realized when I closed my sandwich that I
had built it upside down, so I flipped it over.
pork meatball banh mi, side view
(or end view, depending on how you look at it)

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