I went from the land of milk and cheese to the land of beef.
Ironically, in the former I didn’t each much cheese, but this being America, beef has played a strong role in my dietary habits throughout life. Quite frankly, I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian because I simply enjoy the taste of beef, from burgers to brisket.
Since I’ve been learning more about food and cooking, I enjoy beef even more. Learning to cook a steak properly was a revelation, and steak has become the basis upon which I’ve built quite a few delicious, healthy meals. People often conjure up images of carb-loaded meat fests when they think of beef, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Using quality cuts of beef means a little can go a long way, and you can build upon its natural flavor for accompanying many dishes.
Just over a year ago I had my first Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi, from a shop here in Austin. It seems so simple, as they are built like any other sandwich, but I was bowled over. The combination of ingredients is what brings it home. Soft bread with crispy crust, vegetables that snap, marinaded meat. Some banh mi add another layer with the addition of a pate, but I prefer without. And if you’re making a sandwich around this kitchen, hold that devilish cilantro.
Thinly sliced sirloin is one of my newest obsessions. It can transform salads, give your appetizers another notch on the fancy scale, tantalize in stir-fry, and of course, be the perfect solution to a sandwich craving.
I don’t claim these sandwiches to be authentic, because I’ve never been to Vietnam and have eaten banh mi at exactly two shops here in Austin. One shop uses butter as their spread, and the other uses a light coating of mayonnaise. I said light. This isn’t a BLT, folks. You can either purchase your bread at a quality bakery or try your hand at making it at home – I highly recommend the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day method, and the authors have the Master Recipe posted on their website.
For the sandwiches
- 1 sirloin steak, about one pound
- Chopped jalapeño
- Fresh cilantro
- Pickled carrots and daikon
- 2 baguettes, sliced in half and split
- Butter or mayonnaise
For the marinade
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Combine marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl or casserole big enough to fit the steak. Add the steak, turn over to coat, and cover bowl. Let marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- When you are ready to cook, let the meat stand at room temperature while you heat up your pan.
- Cook the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Let rest, and then slice into thin pieces against the grain.
- On the split bread, spread butter or mayonnaise. Then layer on beef, carrots, daikon, cucumbers, jalapeño, and cilantro, adding and subtracting as desired.
- Eat immediately, or wrap in waxed paper and take with you for a picnic. Letting the sandwich rest helps the flavors meld even more, and completed sandwiches keep in the fridge very well.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 623Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 2196mgCarbohydrates: 91gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 25g
Disclaimer: I created this recipe as part of my involvement with the Texas Beef Council via Foodbuzz. I have been compensated for my time and expenses, but my opinions are my own.