My entire educational period was powered by second breakfast— homemade sandwiches wrapped in a wax paper. Between two slices of fresh bread generously covered with butter, my mother usually squeezed a leaf of lettuce, a slice of tomato, cheese and ham. Occasionally, whenever my father got a rabbit from his hunter friends, she baked the pâté. Such sandwiches were special not only because of a delicious home-made meat and liver spread but also because horseradish and cranberry jam accents enlivened the midmorning treat. Plus in lieu of two slices of rye, the pâté was hugged by a crisp baguette.
Bánh mì, a transnational marriage of Western with Oriental cuisine, started feeding my imagination. What if instead of pâté I fried up some blood sausage and balanced it with a beet relish? Could this sandwich handle a garlicky kiełbasa and wild mushrooms in vinegar? Or trips with pickled mustard greens and chives? Living in the vicinity of Yum-Mì Sandwiches—one of the best Vietnamese places in Orlando—I decided to explore the taste of the original bánh mì (on the picture above) before moving onto my own creations. Soon I realized how hard it would be to beat their yummy menu but I will try.
VIETNAMESE PICKLED DAIKON AND CARROT (DO CHUA)
recipe adapted from Viet World Kitchen
makes 3 cups
½ pound carrot, peeled and julienned
1 pound daikon radish, peeled and julienned
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon + ¼ cup sugar
½ cup white vinegar
1 cup warm water
Combine julienned carrots, daikon, salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Use colander to drain vegetables. Rinse and pat dry them with paper towel. Transfer vegetables to a jar.
Whisk together remaining sugar, vinegar and water until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour mixture over the veggies. Let marinated for 1 hour before using on your sandwich. Keep refrigerated, tightly covered, up to 4 weeks.