I have been dreaming of this sandwich for a long time. In Houston there is apparently an amazing Vietnamese sandwich shop that makes the best sandwiches – banh mi (think poboy if you are from New Orleans). Not that I would know…in my two years there I never dined at Les Givral’s Cafe.
I’ve also had a recipe for a meatball banh mi in my torn-out-of-a-magazine binder since January of this year…and haven’t thought about it since. Until last week…
On my way to the studio I notice Tasty Casian, a Vietnamese restaurant in a strip mall on Essen. Immediately I thought of the Vietnamese sandwich from Houston and wondered if they served something similar. And they did…check out their menu on facebook.
That night I called in an order for shrimp spring rolls (which tasted very similar to mine) and a steamed pork banh mi. Both were all that I could have hoped for. The sandwich was on crunchy French bread with steamed pork, pickles carrots, cilantro, cucumbers…and mayo. Yes, I do eat mayo sometimes…here are my thoughts.
So of course this week I had to recreate the sandwich to share with you. I did a combination of these two recipes. The process is a little involved (not hard though) and takes some pre-planning (marinating the meat and pickling the carrots)…so prepare it over the weekend and then just assemble the sandwiches individually all week! Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort!
Pork Tenderloin Banh Mi
adapted from Emeril and Big Girls Small Kitchen and cooksillustrated
Makes 4 – 8 servings…I made 8 “girl-sized” sandwiches
For the meat:
2 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, trimmed
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
For the pickled carrots:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/8-inch match sticks or shredded in a food processor…or just buy shredded carrots!
For the sandwiches:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon sriracha…or more/less depending on how spicy you like it…you could just use plain mayo if you don’t want to buy sriracha or maybe use cayenne?
1 baguette…or 8 whole wheat sandwich rolls (or hot dog buns in a pinch)
1 bunch cilantro, woody stems removed
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
3 jalapeno or serrano peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (I didn’t use these…not a big fan of spicy)
In a resealable plastic food storage bag or Tupperware container, combine the scallions, garlic, sugar, black pepper, fish sauce, and lime juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the pork, turn to coat evenly, and seal. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
To prepare the carrots, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl (or jar) until dissolved. Add the carrots and toss until combined. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
To cook the tenderloin*, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the pork from the marinade. Pat the pork dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place tenderloin in skillet; cook until well browned, 3 minutes. Using tongs, rotate tenderloin 1/4 turn; cook until well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat until all sides are browned.
Transfer tenderloin to rimmed baking sheet and place in oven (or if your skillet is oven-proof put the whole skillet in the oven); roast until internal temperature registers 135 to 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 10 to 16 minutes.
Transfer tenderloin to cutting board and tent loosely with foil; let rest until internal temperature registers 145 to 150 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut tenderloin crosswise into thin slices.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise and the sriracha.
To assemble the sandwiches, you have 2 choices…1) grill the bread halves first or 2) assemble the sandwich and then press like a panini…I went with option number 2!
Spread both sides of the bread with mayonnaise. Divide the pork evenly between the bottoms of each sandwich. Top with cucumber slices, pickled carrot, sliced peppers to taste (if using), and cilantro leaves then place the top of the sandwich over all. Cut each sandwich in half, serve immediately.
*Emeril grilled his!
Per serving (figuring 8 "girl sized" sandwiches per recipe) - 315 calories, 11 g fat (2 saturated), 36 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 21 g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 2 protein, 2 starch; WW points: 6)