Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grilled Zucchini Banh Mi

I noticed that in the last couple of weeks my washi tape cross-stitch project has been featured on Babble, linked by A Lovely Lark, and also gotten around Pinterest quite a bit. Exciting! If you've made your way here via those routes, welcome! I hope you'll stick around.

In honor of you, dear new readers, whomever you might be, I've just added a little blurb about this blog down at the bottom of the page there, explaining a bit of what I'm doing here. So scroll down and check it out. It's a work in progress.

While I finish up my giant patchwork/embroidery project, I thought I'd share this recipe for grilled zucchini banh mi sandwiches that we recently enjoyed.

It's based on a recipe for banh mi with lemongrass tofu from the blog Salt Bird. I think I've changed the recipe enough to make it my own, so I'll type it out here, but I really encourage you to go over and check out Salt Bird; it is a wonderful little blog.

The original tofu version of this recipe is wonderful--my man calls it the best tofu ever--and it's part of our regular rotation. This time, I thought I'd try using zucchini in place of the tofu. 'Tis the season, after all.

Ceci n'est pas une pumpkin.

In place of the lemongrass called for in the original marinade recipe, I usually substitute lemon balm, because I always have it on hand. (Lemon balm is in the mint family, so once you plant some you…always have it on hand. Consider yourself warned.)

My man and I DESPISE cilantro, so the other change I make to the recipe is to leave off that vile herb. Instead, for a bit of something green to pile atop our sandwiches, I make a little salad with thinly sliced bitter leaves, dressed with rice vinegar and sesame oil. Often I use daikon greens for this. Tuscan kale would also be good. This time I used rutabaga greens--which, yes, are edible! And we have been a bit overwhelmed with them.

Look, these are the greens from just one rutabaga.

And we planted a whole row.

Zucchini and baguette is not a very high-protein meal, so I served this with a salad of corn and edamame. (You could also add avocado, tofu, and/or, if you are carnivorously inclined, perhaps some shrimp.) Sprinkle some umeboshi vinegar over the salad, bite into your wonderfully messy and savory sandwich, and enjoy the last days of summer.

Grilled Zucchini Banh Mi

1 long baguette
3 or 4 medium zucchini


2 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil

2 tsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Leaves from 1 stalk fresh lemon balm, in chiffonade (about 1 Tbsp when cut)

Do chua (pickles):
1 cup grated daikon

1 cup grated carrot

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

2 packed cups greens (daikon, kale, rutabaga), tough stems removed
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

4 Tbsp mayonnaise 

Sriracha to taste
Soy sauce to taste

Make the marinade:
In a shallow dish or lidded plastic container, combine soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, lemon balm, and garlic. Chop the zucchini into large, flattish pieces. Place in the dish and toss to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. 

For the do chua (pickles):
In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. Add daikon and carrots and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Drain completely before using.

For the greens:
Wash the greens, roll the leaves together and slice them very thinly into chiffonade. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds.  Add the greens and toss together. I like to let this sit a half hour or so before serving, to allow the dressing to penetrate the leaves.


For the spread:
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, siracha, and soy sauce.

To cook and serve:
Cook the zucchini on a grill until tender and charred in spots. Slice baguettes lengthwise, leaving one side as a hinge. Spread mayonnaise (generously) on top and bottom halves. Arrange zucchini, pickles, and greens on top, and enjoy.

Serves 2 or 3

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