Recipe: Duck Bánh Mì
Coffee: Vietnamese iced coffee with our smoky Corsica blend.
When it comes to sandwiches, we love a story – no difference with the Bánh Mì: what we consider a great example of a double-immigration sandwich. The baguette-style roll (often lightened with rice flour) emerged in Indochina during French colonization, and the Vietnamese, who immigrated to the United States following the evacuation of Saigon in 1975, brought the sandwich to us. Those who shorthand this sandwich as a “Southeast Asian hoagie” undervalue the importance of the distinctive flavorings rooted in another culture, such as sweet red barbecued pork sprinkled with slivers of lightly pickled cucumber and carrot and seasoned with jalapeños and cilantro. We took some liberties with our version, using Peking duck from our favorite place in our local Chinatown district. The rich flavor and texture of the duck is a good antidote to our current blood-thinning weather when it’s a challenge to just get out of bed let alone the house. Viva la’delivery.
1 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons mayo
Juice from 1/2 lime
To taste: Sriracha or chili garlic sauce
Two 8-inch sections of baguette, hinged and toasted
1/2 Peking duck
Buy it whole, not cleavered into pieces.
1 cherry pepper, thinly sliced
Traditionally, this is jalapeno, but we’re throwing out some Philly-style here.
Several pluches cilantro (about 3 good ones per sandwich)
French for fresh leaves of herbs, just another way of saying several sprigs of fresh cilantro.
Few thin slices red onion
Be fancy, and cut these like a plank to encompass the length of the sandwich, or just use 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick rounds.
Mix together the grated carrot, vinegar, salt and sugar, and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to a day in advance. (When working in advance, the carrots will exude quite a bit of moisture so when you’re ready to make the sandwiches, strain them and firmly squeeze out the excess brine.)
Mix together the ingredients for the spicy lime mayo, which is basically just that – spicy sauce, lime juice and mayo in whichever proportions you prefer – and store refrigerated until ready to make the sandwiches.
If you picked up the duck earlier and it steamed in its foil-wrapped bag, place the duck in a small, low side baking dish and re-crisp skin in preheated 375°F oven. Half of a duck will make two good-sized sandwiches: Pick the leg meat into large chunks, and slice the breast thinly on a bias because you want to make the sandwiches with a mixture of the two, using a good disbursement of meat and crispy fat.
Here’s How to Build Your Bánh Mì
Spread the spicy mayo on the inside of toasted and hinged baguette.
Layer the duck evenly over the bottom half of the hinge.
Shingle the cucumber over the duck.
Sprinkle on the grated carrot.
Layer the thinly sliced cherry peppers and onion over the top.
Don’t forget the final touch: fresh cilantro.
Added bonus: The spicy mayo and vegetable garnish (especially the pickled carrots) for a kind of slaw when you squish the sandwich together.