Banh Mi Bites with Shallot Aioli
In our early twenties Emily and I used to crowd in our small LA apartment kitchens to cook simple meals while talking about boys, work and favorite brunch spots. I left LA to move to Boston (and then San Francisco, DC, Delhi, and now Seattle), and after years of following each others' careers and thoughts across oceans, we finally got a chance to cook together again last month when I was visiting in LA. This time though we cooked in her palatial, magazine-worthy kitchen, and talking house buying, pregnancy woes, and our companies. It was a comforting mix of lots good things both new and old things, much like the meal we made.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 bunch green onions, diced
- 1 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1.5 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon of shallot oil (for cooking)
- Shallot Aioli
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 cup shallot oil
- Juice of one small lemon (1.5 tablespoon)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup of basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup of Amber Vinegar
- 1 fresh baguette
- Combine all meatball ingredients (except shallot oil) and mix well; form into small 1 inch balls with hands.
- Pour shallot oil into a skillet on medium-high heat and cook meatballs about 5-7 minutes on each side, turning once until browned.
- Place cooked meatballs onto a paper towel-lined plate. Meatballs can be made up to two days ahead of serving, just warm them up on a baking tray in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes before assembly.
- Place egg yolks into a small food processor; turn on food processor and drizzle shallot oil slowly (one drop at at time) until combined.
- Alternatively you can make the aoili by hand (especially if you want to make a half portion with one yolk and and 1/2 cup shallot oil) by whisking egg yolks in small bowl while adding shallot oil one drop at a time while whisking. Mix in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
- Coat grated carrots, cucumber, and herbs with amber vinegar.
- Cut baguette across its center (like you would a large sandwich) and coat the insides with shallot aioli. Stack baguette back together and cut into 1 inch slices.
- Stack cucumber, carrots, one meatball, and herbs between baguette slices and secure with toothpick. Enjoy!