March 17, 2015

March in the Kitchen: Banh MI

I'm a sucker for a good banh mi. It's probably one of my all-time favorite sandwiches, and I stand by my assertion that one Atlanta's best sandwiches ever was the lemongrass chicken banh mi at the now-long defunct Pangaea, that opened in the early days of the west side's rebirth. I recently made banh mi at home using pork shoulder that I smoked on BGE for about 12 hours. I basically follow David Chang's Momofuku-style recipe, it's become my go-to for banh mi at home. I tend to interchange pork or chicken depending on what I have around the house, though Chang's version is made with pate. I got some baguette from Lee's Bakery on Buford Highway, a place I had heard about plenty, but never visited. These baguettes were a revelation; light and airy with a perfect amount of crunch to the flaky exterior. I used to waste my time trying to make my own, which is something I'll never do again after tasting these. Oh yeah, you can get 3 for $1.00! How many food items today can you think of that are actually kick-ass and cost 33 cents!
I also made a batch of Kenji's Sichuan-style dry-fried green beans. His lifehack on the traditionally deep fried dish is to broil the beans raw before dressing. The beans were tasty, and rightfully spicy with powdered and whole Szechuan peppercorns throughout. I could have gotten more color on the beans; just need a little longer under the broiler next time. A simple dish with robust flavors that can be whipped up quickly.

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