If the Earl of Sandwich had even an inkling that, many years later, across the globe, somewhere in French-colonized Vietnam the sandwich to beat all sandwiches was to be born, he would jump in a time machine and travel just to eat a banh mi, a beautiful, near perfect sandwich made with warm French baguette, pâté and other meat, chili peppers, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. He would probably never leave, either, finding the climate more agreeable and the sandwich so delicious.
But then, because everyone knows that you just cannot mess with time, he’d ruin everything somehow with his presence/influence and the banh mi would probably not be the ultimate sandwich that it most definitely is.
I probably have at least five pounds of frozen baguette crumbs in my car crevices from eating these sandwiches while driving, unable to wait to get home to scarf up a freshly made masterpiece. Unfortunately, I probably have (at least) five extra pounds on my person as well from eating so many, too.
In an effort to slim down, last week I hacked the banh mi, by making it vegetarian, and using a lower calorie flatbread wrap to contain all the bright, fresh flavors. I think it worked! A spicy mayo, not unheard of in a traditional banh mi, adds a kick, as do the very thin slices of jalapeño chili. The tofu adds some much needed protein, and the vegetables are there for crunch, crunch, and more crunch. Quickly pickling all the veggies in brine makes everything sing with flavor. The flatbread holds it all together, and makes it a fabulous meal.
Thanks for nothing, Earl! I got this one right here.
-Amy at Flatout