On certain slow weeknights when Jon and I get out of work at the same time, we meet at a bar halfway between both our jobs called Blind Tiger. They have a wide selection of beers and a late night food menu. I think between us we’ve eaten every sandwich on that menu. Jon likes one called the bloody beast (shocker) but my favorite is their bahn mi sandwich.
Recently at the greenmarket, a beautiful bunch of tatsoi (greens similar to bok choi and spinach) and some sweet little colorful root vegetables jumped out at me and reminded me of how well the flavors of a good bahn mi sandwich complement each other.
Anything with pickled vegetables and pork is exciting, and every time I try a new bahn mi place in the East Village (opening recently with rapid speed) I have high hopes. But I’ve ultimately been disappointed by all these newly opened sandwich joints’ attempts to recreate this classic Vietnamese sandwich. I wanted this bite to succeed where so many local bahn mi sandwiches fail – to be juicy and moist. I omitted the bread entirely so that the flavors of the pork, glaze and vegetables could speak for themselves.
The tangy, cold pickled vegetables combined with the warm, garlicky greens, the juicy baby pork ribs and the sweet orange ginger glaze filled my mouth with all bahn mi filling, no bahn mi bullshit.
(Makes 6 ribs)
For the Pickled Carrots and Radishes:
1 cups dill, loosely packed
1/2 cup parsley, loosely packed
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup sugar
¼ cup salt
2/3 cup distilled vinegar
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 cups water
3 small multi colored carrots, chiffonnade
3 small pink and purple radishes, thinly sliced
- Mix all ingredients except vinegar together and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer briefly, until garlic and shallots are softened and mixture is fragrant.
- Off heat, add vinegar. Strain and pour directly over peeled vegetables. Refrigerate. Make at least 1 day before using.
For the Pork Ribs and Glaze:
6 bone in mini pork ribs
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 finger length of ginger, peeled and sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
Beer of your choosing, to deglaze
½ cup orange juice
1 cup chicken stock
- In a hot pan, sear off ribs briefly so they are just browned on each side but not cooked fully.
- Remove ribs and add more oil if needed. Saute garlic, onions and ginger until softened and golden brown. Season well.
- Deglaze with beer and add zest and orange juice. Cook for a minute, then add stock.
- Add ribs back into liquid and braise on low heat until cooked through. Remove ribs and reduce liquid to a glaze. Strain sauce through a fine chinois. Use to glaze ribs.
To finish the bite:
2 small heads tatsoi
1 clove garlic
Salt and Pepper
Pickled carrots and radishes
- Mince garlic and sweat in butter and oil until softened and slightly browned.
- Add tatsoi and cook until wilted. Season well with salt and pepper.
- While ribs are warm, top with tatsoi, carrots and radishes. Sauce with glaze and serve.
© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle