It would seem my julienne mandoline is my chattiest kitchen gadget, because in addition to urging me to make green mango salad, the other day it pretty much demanded that I make banh mi from some leftover carnitas. It's going to ask for some bibimbap one of these days, just you wait. Carnitas is super simple to make—you won't find a better explanation than Homesick Texan's—and leaves you with oodles of tender yet crispy flavorful pork. The first night, I served it with tortillas and black beans, and rice, and loads of spicy green salsa.
Immediately afterwards, I started dreaming about pairing the pork with a fluffy white baguette and some crispy, tart veggies. You know you're obsessed with food when you start planning your next meal immediately after finishing the last one. My plan involved some quick pickles, daikon and carrot. I worked off the Momofuku recipe, only I seriously reduced (almost eliminated) the sugar. I'm in the Anthony Myint camp on this one. His Mission Street Food cookbook is, if possible, even funnier than Momofuku. It hardly has any recipes, but he includes this choice piece of advice:
I recommend cutting back or even omitting the sugar from most pickle recipes. You can always add a pinch of sugar later, but honestly, I've never thought, "The problem with these pickles is that they're not sweet enough."The man speaks the truth.
The only other important ingredient is a fluffy white baguette. Strangely the Mission Mexican markets around me all stock Vietnamese french bread. Otherwise, I would recommend giving the loaves at your local market a quick, surreptitious squeeze. You're looking for light, squishy (not dense) bread.
Quick Pickles (Momofuku cookbook minus the sugar)
2 carrots, peeled
Half a daikon, peeled
1. Run your veggies over a julienne mandoline, being very careful not to cut your fingers.
2. Place them (the veggies, not your fingers) in a container with pickle brine: 1 cup of piping hot tap water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, small pinch of sugar.
3. Pickles are ready to eat in 24 hours.
Carnitas Bahn Mi
Leftover carnitas (use your favorite recipe or try Homesick Texan's version)
1 white baguette per person (make sure the interior is fluffy and soft)
Quick pickles from the recipe above
Thinly sliced jalapenos
1. Slice the baguette in half. Spread with mayo and sriracha, then stuff with carnitas and stick it under the broiler for 5-6 minutes until bread is slightly crusty and meat is reheated.
2. Remove from oven and scatter over pickles, jalapenos, and cilantro.