Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatball Banh Mi

Banh Mi, Vietnamese Sandwiches, are one of my absolute favorite things to eat. They also seem to be one of many other people's favorite things to eat -at least here in the greater Seattle area- and last week, Nancy Leson in The Seattle Times highlighted some favorite places to buy Banh Mi Sandwiches around town. If I lived or worked in Seattle, instead of only making occasional visits into the city, I would probably try and sample every single sandwich available and eat them daily. And there are enough places in Seattle making and selling these sandwiches, that this could go on for a very long time! Instead, her article reminded me of this Pork Meatball Banh Mi (click here) Vietnamese sandwich recipe that I saw in Bon Appetit magazine awhile ago. I have been very hipped on making something similar to this sandwich since I first saw the article, but I just hadn't gotten around to doing it -until last night.

Remember those amazing meatballs I made last week for the Vietnamese-style Meatball Spring Rolls (click here)? Last night, I used the frozen portion of those pork and shimp meatballs, and made Meatball Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwiches. How well meatballs freeze is just one of their many great attributes. I love that I can make meatballs in double quantities, freeze half for a second meal, and then that second meal's preparation is so super easy. For these sandwiches, I just heated a caste-iron pan, added a bit of oil, and tumbled in the unthawed frozen meatballs. I browned them on medium-low heat, and then covered them and let them sit a bit to make sure they were done all the way through.

The sandwich-making was a cinch. Sadly, my photo does not do justice to how vibrant and delicious looking this really was. To make them, I grated a carrot into a bit of the spicy dipping sauce leftover from the Meatball Spring Rolls (a mixture of lime juice and sweet rice vinegar would also be good here instead) and let it sit awhile. A purchased roll with a coating of mayonnaise, a few cucumber slices and some torn cilantro leaves, a bit of the marinated carrot, and these amazing meatballs, all flavored with a splash of the magical Maggi Seasoning sauce (the secret ingredient) made a quick and easy Banh Mi. And the sandwich-eating was fantastic, as is always the case with these Vietnamese sandwiches. I haven't yet met one I didn't absolutely love!

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