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Grilled pork banh mi

July 27, 2010

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Makes 6

What puts this banh mi head and shoulders above its peers is the battery of prep work that includes pounding, marinating, grilling, deep frying, and oven toasting. Don’t skip the frying step — that’s what crisps the sugary marinade into an addictive, candy-like char. But if you’d prefer to forgo the grill, cook the marinated pork in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, using the same timing.

PICKLED VEGETABLES

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4

cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 carrot, cut into julienne strips 1/2 daikon radish, cut into julienne strips 1. In a bowl, whisk vinegar, sugar, water, and salt.

2. Stir in daikon and carrot. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

MARINADE

1/2 stalk lemongrass, chopped 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon ground white pepper 2 teaspoons salt 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1. In a large bowl, combine the lemongrass, garlic, sugar, pepper, salt, and oil.

2. Mix well.

FILLING

1 pound boneless pork butt or boneless country-style ribs, thinly sliced, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces Vegetable oil (for deep-fat frying) 6 baguette rolls (10 inches each) 2/3 cup mayonnaise 6 teaspoons fish sauce 1/2 medium cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch spears 6 fresh cilantro sprigs 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and sliced into thin rings 1. Arrange the pork in a single layer between sheets of plastic wrap. With a mallet or heavy pan, pound to a 1/4-inch thickness. Toss with the marinade. Transfer to a plastic zipper bag and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove the pork from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking.

2. Light a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high. When the coals are gray, cook the pork for 3 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.

3. In a deep-fat fryer or soup pot, heat enough vegetable oil to make a layer of several inches. When it reaches 375 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer, fry half the grilled pork for 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining pork.

4. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Toast the baguettes for 5 minutes or until hot and crusty. Slice them lengthwise and slather generously with mayonnaise.

5. Divide pork into 6 portions, tuck some into each baguette, and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of fish sauce. Top with cucumbers, pickled vegetables, cilantro sprigs, and jalapenos. Adapted from Pho Viet