Banh mi sandwiches are a Vietnamese street food. Instead of the typical pork and mayonnaise, this version features baked tofu, an anchovy-miso dressing, and cucumber pickles. A key element of banh mi sandwiches is fresh breadday-old bread is too dry. The best bread to use is a thin-crust white flour baguette that wont overwhelm the sandwich fillings. Try making these sandwiches for a July picnic. Serves 4.
Olive oil for greasing
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh baguette
Leaves from 1 small handful fresh cilantro
Leaves from 1 small handful fresh mint
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
3 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sweet white miso
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2 kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch half moons
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 star anise
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
2. Arrange the tofu slices on the baking sheet and season with salt.
3. To make the marinade, in a blender combine the anchovies, garlic, honey, mirin, miso, and mustard. Add a dash of salt and blend for 30 seconds. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
4. Rub 1/2 teaspoon of the marinade into the top of each tofu slice and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the slices, rub the second side with marinade, and bake for 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool.
5. To make the pickles, put the cucumber slices in a small bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, honey, star anise, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers. Let cool.
6. To assemble the sandwiches, cut the baguette into 4 pieces. Slice open each piece and generously spread both sides with the marinade. Put 2 to 3 slices of tofu in each sandwich and add a few pinches of cilantro and mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Tuck in a few pickles and jalapeño slices and serve.
From Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia. Excerpted by arrangement with Ten Speed Press. Copyright © 2009.
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