Although the bánh mì may have originated in the markets of Saigon, in bigger cities in the U.S. it is now as much of an American lunchtime staple as the burrito or panini. There are as many variations of the bánh mì as there are cooks who make it. This version combines pork, cucumber, and a pickled slaw of radish, carrot, and onion.
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons sambal oelek
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup matchstick-cut radishes
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
6 (2-ounce) boneless pork breakfast cutlets
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (12-ounce) French bread baguette (16 inches long)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled cucumber
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
How to Make It
To prepare pickles, combine first 4 ingredients (through sambal oelek) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add carrot, radishes, and onion. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature 1 hour.
Place pork between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to 1/8-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt, and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
Cut bread in half lengthwise. Hollow out bottom half of bread, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use. Place bread halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until toasted.
Combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon sambal oelek in a small bowl. Spread mayonnaise mixture on cut side of bread top. Layer pickled vegetables, pork slices, cucumber, and cilantro evenly on bread bottom. Cover with bread top. Cut sandwich into 4 equal portions.