Vietnamese Vegetable Baguette

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Bahn-mi is a wonderful Vietnamese sandwich born of a colonial past. It’s built on a French baguette, layered with roast pork, ham, and pâté, but then it suddenly goes Asian with an ample garnish of cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot, cilantro sprigs, and hot pepper. My home version is usually meatless, though, with avocado and egg instead, and plenty spicy.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup julienned peeled carrots
  • ½ cup julienned peeled daikon
  • ½ cup julienned peeled cucumber
  • Salt
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped serrano or fresh Thai chile
  • ½ cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons slivered scallions
  • 6 basil leaves, torn
  • 8 mint leaves, torn
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 fresh baguette
  • A few lettuce leaves
  • A few sprigs cilantro
  • 1 firm ripe avocado, thickly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, quartered

Method

Put the julienned carrots, daikon, and cucumber in a medium bowl and season with ½ teaspoon salt and the brown sugar. Add the fish sauce and chile, toss well, and let marinate for 5 minutes.

Add the bean sprouts, scallions, basil, mint, and a squeeze or two of lime juice to the julienned vegetables. Split the baguette lengthwise and line the bottom half with the lettuce leaves and cilantro sprigs. Spoon the vegetables into the loaf. Distribute the avocado and eggs evenly, salt lightly, add the top half of the baguette, and press down gently. Cut into 4 sandwiches.

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