Saturday, January 23, 2010
If banh mi are supposedly a French-Vietnamese hybrid, then the Pork Meatball Banh Mi is an Italian-French-Vietnamese hybrid, taking the meatball sub in a very interesting (and delicious) direction. This recipe, from Bon Appetit, has you combine ground pork with chopped basil, garlic, scallions, fish sauce, chili sauce, sugar, salt and pepper (plus a sprinkling of cornstarch, presumably to help hold everything together). You form the meat into small-ish balls and fry them in a tablespoon of Asian sesame oil until they're nice and brown.
Before all that, however, you've already grated some carrots and daikon (or just use regular radishes if you can't find daikon) and set them to pickle in rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt for an hour or so. And you've whipped regular mayo into a deliciously spicy concoction with hot chili sauce and scallions.
Slice open a baguette (and here's where I think I could've used some foresight: the Eli's Bread baguette I bought was a bit too crusty; next time I'll go for a softer loaf), and pile on some meatballs, veggies and mayo. Tuck a few stems of cilantro in there, and maybe some sliced cucumber or jalapeno pepper, if you're so inclined. The combo of sweet, spicy, hot and cool is excellent. Bring on the banh mi boom!--S
Monday, January 04, 2010
Pasta and Bean Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound pork stew meat, diced
¼ pound pancetta, cut into strips
¼ pound prosciutto skin, whole or cut into strips (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb (about ¾ pound), chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
10 cups chicken broth
1½ cups (about 10 ounces) dried white beans
1 cup (1/2 pound) canned chickpeas
¼ pound Parmesan crusts (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ pound tubetti, ditali, or other short tubular macaroni
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the pork, pancetta, and prosciutto skin, if using, and cook, stirring, until they turn color, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, fennel, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 12 to 15 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth, white beans, chickpeas, Parmesan crusts, if using, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and rosemary, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the white beans are al dente, about 1¼ hours. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until they, too, are al dente, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and rosemary sprig. Both the prosciutto skin and Parmesan crusts can be eaten if desired. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the grated Parmesan cheese.