Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vietnamese Style Burgs

My biggest pet peeve is a picky eater. I'm not talking about us folks who have Crohn's and have to limit what we eat, or people who limit their culinary choices for any health reason. I'm talking about petulant child picky. I'll never understand it: food is one of life's most great, and simple, pleasures. I love all food: whole food, processed food, picnic food, comfort cold weather food, and everything in between. I've never met a bad cheesecake (blasphemy, I say!), or a salad that didn't start off a meal perfectly (is there anything better than mixed greens, Gorgonzola, spiced pecans and a balsamic vinaigrette?).

Today I was in the mood for beef. I'm not going to lie: I never met a cow I didn't like, but it's very seldom in the house because it's not easy on the stomach, and it's atrocious for the environment. We are chicken and fish people. But, alas, today mama wanted some beef. I perused my new issue of Food and Wine and there it was: a burger, but it wasn't. Toasted baguettes with spicy mayo, curry-infused patties, and topped with pickled carrots and cilantro? Yes, absolutely, YES. They were juicy (so, so juicy), quick, and just slightly different from American burger faire. Be sure to slather your baguette with the spiced mayo and use the extra for dipping. Serves a very happy foursome.

Vietnamese-Style Banh Mi Burgers


  • 2 carrots, coarsely shredded
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • One 24-inch baguette, quartered crosswise and split
  • cilantro sprigs
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, toss the carrots with the rice vinegar and sugar and let stand for 10 minutes; drain.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the hot sauce, tomato paste and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Form the meat into four 6-inch-long oval patties, about 1 inch thick. Season with the curry powder and salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Cook the patties over moderate heat, turning once, until medium, about 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, spread the butter on the cut sides of the baguette. Set the bread cut side up on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Spread the mayo mixture on the bread generously and top each baguette section with a burger patty, pickled shredded carrots, and cilantro sprigs. Close the sandwiches and serve hot.

Sooo much better than regular mayo. Spiked with hot sauce (I used Sriracha), garlic, and tomato paste.

The carrots soaking in rice vinegar. Look how they glisten!


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