This vegetarian banh mi features marinated tofu; it soaks up savory flavor from soy sauce and heat from fresh ginger for a riff on the popular Vietnamese sandwich. Serve with Sriracha (hot chile sauce) if you prefer more fire.
Cut tofu crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Arrange tofu on several layers of paper towels. Top with several more layers of paper towels; top with a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Let stand 30 minutes. Remove tofu from paper towels.
Combine soy sauce and ginger in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish. Arrange tofu slices in a single layer in soy mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning once.
Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve. Add carrot and next 4 ingredients (through cucumber); toss well. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain carrot mixture through a sieve; drain thoroughly.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove tofu from marinade; discard marinade. Pat tofu slices dry with paper towels. Add tofu slices to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden.
Cut bread in half lengthwise. Open halves, laying bread cut side up on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Place tofu slices on bottom half of bread; top with carrot mixture, cilantro, and jalapeño slices. Top with top half of bread. Cut loaf crosswise into 6 equal pieces.
Wine note: The herbaceous quality of Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($11) echoes the jalapeño peppers and green onions in our Tofu Banh Mi, while the wine's lemony acidity helps it stand up to the rice vinegar–pickled vegetables. —Jeffery Lindenmuth