Good point, title. And what’s not to like about sandwiches?
I’ve been on a quest for quite a while for a good Banh Mi, a vietnamese sandwich filled with fresh and pickled veggies, pork (or other meats, but I mean, pork is the king) and cilantro, all in a crispy and soft baguette. If you have not yet had one, I highly suggest you dedicate the next 7 days to finding one, and conquering it…and then thanking me. Well during a recent Bachelorette party, we happened to dine at Sava’s, a restaurant that has none other than (bum bum bum) Banh Mi on the menu! It was offered with either pork or tofu. One of my dining companions ordered the tofu, and I ordered the pork. It was delicious. However, this sparked the topic of tofu at the table (alliteration!). Each of us likes tofu, but have never been successful in preparing it at home.
So fast forward to this past weekend, when Max, my roommate, says the above words of the title, and I immediately accept my 2 way challenge: write about a sandwich, prepare tofu in a successful manner. Now, for future reference, I will always pick pork over tofu, but it’s a new year, and it’s time to prepare a sandwich!
I selected a Bahn Mi recipe from a trusted site:
Caramelized Pork Banh Mi – Food52
And swapped out the pork for…
And the best part? That block of tofu right there was only $1.25 at the People’s Food Co-Op!
Before we start a-marinating these beauties, I wanted to get the pickled veggies started, since the longer they sit, the more intense the flavor. I made sure to start these while I was NOT hungry, as to allow plenty of pickling time.
This specific recipe calls for you to combine all the ingredients (vinegar, water, salt, sugar) and then place veggies in, and let sit. Now, in my pickling experience, giving it a little heat in the beginning allows the ingredients of the pickling liquid to marry a bit more, and infuses the veggies right off the bat. However, it does cook them a bit, giving it less crunch. I threw caution to the wind and decided to put it over heat before placing it in the fridge. I also added some sliced red onion, and fresh cilantro.
Once they’re reactively cool, pop them in the fridge until you’re ready to pile them high. I let mine sit for about 2 hours.
Now, back to the tofu. When you’re about 30 minutes away from “I need a sandwich inside of me” slice up your protein source, and let it sit in the majesty that is the delicious marinade from this recipe (fish sauce and brown sugar, who knew?!)
While the tofu is marinating into something with a semblance of flavor (get it, tofu tastes like nothing), it’s time to make the condiment that will make grown men weep
Who knew it was spelled sRiracha? I always thought it was siracha. And there are no instructions for this: add sriracha to mayo until heat level desired it reached (or until color is to peak pretty tones).
Now since it’s been 30 minutes, place your tofu/mushroom mixture in your new christmas presented cast iron skillet to achieve some tasty caramelization
And if you can’t tell from the above picture, I broke the cardinal rule of browning: over crowding the pan. Not only that, I didn’t realize how much extra liquid there would be from the marinade, so needless to say, there was no browning, no sweet caramelization of tofu, but hey, it warmed up, and the mushrooms cooked.
Now to assemble:
- Bottom of baguette
- Sweet sweet sriracha mayo
- Tofu/mushroom slices
- Pickled veggies
- Sliced Jalapeños
- Fresh cilentro
- Big torn pieces of lettuce
- More sweet sweet sriracha mayo
- Top of baguette
Ohhhhh yeahhh. Do you see that? Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? And I’m not just talking about my new placemats I got at a steal of a deal from Anthropologie. You’re right, let’s take a closer look
I plowed through 2 of these in no time flat. Just delightful. And can I say, even without the proper browning the tofu was a success! It had a great texture, and the flavor is (to speak Guy Fieri-ese) Out of Bounds. The next day, with lots of everything leftover besides the bread, I made a “salad” version of this with lots more lettuce. It was tasty. But then again, how could it not be with sriracha mayo as the “dressing”