Friday, December 12, 2008

Bahn mi

Again with the winter evening photos, I know...

I chopped all our herbs down a couple weeks ago, anticipating the first frost. I cut everything but a couple small leaves clinging to the thick stumps of basil, sage, oregano, marjoram. I froze pesto and hung the rest to dry. And since then it's been freakishly warm in Northern California. No frost, no rain. My plants burst into green again. To celebrate, we made improvised bahn mi sandwiches with our herbal bounty.

The traditional has some sort of pate and is stuffed into a French-style baguette. Ours had mayo, hot Italian sausages, and were stuffed into ciabatta rolls. But it's a sandwich--you are practically required to mess with the formula. These are versatile and easily made vegetarian, but for me, nuoc cham, shredded carrots, daikon radish, cilantro, and mint are non-negotiable.
Sort of bahn mi

rolls or small baguettes
protein (sausages, roast pork, baked tofu, or whatever)
shredded carrots
shredded daikon radish
sprigs of cilantro, mint, and/or basil
other additions: thinly sliced cucumber, pate, pickled jalepenos, etc. etc.

Toast rolls lightly, split in half, and spread sides with a bit of mayo. Pile bottom piece of roll with ingredients, spoon nuoc cham over everything, clamp down the top, and eat.

Nuoc cham

juice of one big lime or two small limes
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
2 T. fish sauce
1 1/2 T. sugar (preferable a darker "natural" sugar)
1 minced garlic clove

Soak the red pepper in lime juice for a couple minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. This is usually made with shreds of carrots floating in the sauce, but since I use shredded carrots in my bahn mi, I don't bother. Nuoc cham keeps about a week in the fridge.

Leftover shredded veggies, herbs, protein, and nuoc cham can be tossed with rice noodles and lettuce for a fresh tasting salad the next day.

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