Vietnamese Banh Mi Meets All-American Burger

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Photos by Bill Citara
OK, so if you tried out last week's little lesson on pork-stuffed shrimp, you've got three-fourths of a pound of ground pork, rather assertively seasoned with black pepper, garlic, cilantro, and fish sauce. What do you do with all that pig? Well, you could freeze it for cramming into some monstro-shrimp at a later date; you could roll it into meatballs and serve them with pad Thai noodles tossed with the same sweet Thai chili sauce meant for the shrimp.  

Or you could channel two of the world's great sandwiches -- the all-American burger and the classic Vietnamese banh mi -- into one damned tasty and ridiculously easy meal. Since you've got a mound of seasoned pork, most of the work is already done. Just form it into a couple of thick patties and throw them on the grill, toast some hamburger buns, apply a couple of easy-as-apple-pie garnishes (the recipes after the jump), and scarf away, You multiculti chef, you.


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PICKLED VEGETABLES
½ cup white vinegar
1 cup water
4 T. sugar
1 cucumber
1 carrot
½ red onion
Boiling water 

Divide the first three ingredients between two bowls and stir until sugar is dissolved. Peel, seed and halve the cucumber, then cut into 1/8-inch thick half-moons. Peel carrot and grate on largest holes in grater; hold carrot diagonally to get the longest possible shreds. Add cucumber and carrot to one bowl of pickling mixture. Bring small saucepan of water to boil and slice onion into very thin rounds, then place in colander and pour boiling water over them. Add partially wilted onions to other bowl of pickling mixture. Set both bowls aside at room temperature for at least one hour or even overnight.  

SRIRACHA MAYONNAISE
3 T. mayo
1-2 t. sweet mustard (any kind, more or less depending on your sweet tooth)
1 t. Sriracha (or more if you like it really spicy) 

Mix all ingredients together in small bowl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve... hell, you don't need me to tell you that, though an ice-cold Singha is a perfect complement.



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