One of America's favorite sandwiches is actually from Vietnam. To me, it's the perfect sandwich because it's light yet full of all the Vietnamese flavors I love. The bright, crunchy vegetables and rich pork are just perfect together.
Technique tip: Combine the pâté and mayo in a food processor to make a spread.
Swap option: You can also sub in cold cuts here for the roast pork to save a step. You can also sub out half the carrots for daikon radish for some extra deliciousness.
For the pork:1.
To make the brine, bring 2 cups of water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir in the salt and sugar and keep stirring or whisking until all the solids have completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the garlic, chiles and peppercorns to the saucepan. The heat will make all their flavors open up. Pour the warm brine into a large 6-quart container large enough to hold the pork and 10 cups of liquid.2.
Pour in the remaining 8 cups of cold water. Add your pork, cover and refrigerate overnight.3.
Preheat your oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.4.
Remove the pork from the brine, use paper towels to pat it very dry and place fat-side up in a roasting pan. Allow it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Roast the pork until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature, at least 45 minutes, then slice thinly, about 1/8-inch thick.
For the pickled carrots:
Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Stir constantly, and once the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove it from heat. Add the carrots and stir to coat them in the pickling mixture. Let stand until the carrots have softened, at least 30 minutes or overnight. Drain them well and set aside (you can make this days ahead and keep refrigerated in an airtight container).
Slice off the top one third of the baguettes lengthwise and set aside. Remove enough of the bottom interiors of the bread so that the filling can fit easily.2.
Spread 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise on the top part and 2 tablespoons on the bottom.3.
Spread half of the pâté on the bottom section and top it with the sliced pork (there may be some left over so feel free to eat some while building the banh mi). Then continue to build with cucumber, cilantro leaves, pickled carrots and jalapeños. Sprinkle each sandwich with a few drops soy sauce and close with the upper half of the baguettes.