Once again I had a surplus of corned beef as a result of St. Paddy’s Day sales. Thinking about what I could do with it, I cast my eyes on a jar of Viet-style carrot and daikon pickle made with this recipe. Corned beef bahn mi… why not! After all, how different is this combination from the sauerkraut and corned beef on a reuben?
I was missing many of the basic bahn mi ingredients so had to make substitutions. Lacking a nice crusty bahn mi roll made with rice flour, I used one of my own baguettes. I didn’t have any Kewpie mayo so put regular mayo on one side of the roll, butter on the other. I didn’t have jalapenos so added a line of Sriracha. I didn’t have cilantro but did have some basil which was on its way to the compost bin… wilted but still flavorful.
The bun went into the toaster oven and the corned beef into the microwave, then I assembled the result shown here. It was excellent! The big surprise was how nicely the bitter basil set off the unctuousness of the corned beef. The pickle/meat juxtaposition was just as good as I thought it would be. I then started tinkering: added fish sauce, which didn’t help, because the beef was already salty enough. I then tried some hoisin which made the experience richer and more mellow though somehow less bahn-mi like… I like the funkiness of the simple, strongly flavored ingredients.
Next time I might add some pate for a Carnegie Deli-type mashup, or even some head cheese for an ironic Reuben. But this first effort gets a solid 4=I’d do that again!