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Fried California Avocado Bánh Mì Will Seriously Up Your Sandwich Game

published May 13, 2022
Fried California Avocado Bánh Mì Recipe

Panko-fried California Avocado slices and pickled vegetables are stuffed into a crusty roll for this West Coast take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich.

Serves4

Prep1 hour

Cook15 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

The San Francisco Bay Area has an innovative spirit that extends from the food scene to the technology sector and beyond. Well known as an important hub of California cuisine, here, seasonal, regional eating reigns supreme. Within this region, there’s a vibrant and thriving Vietnamese community in the South Bay (San Jose), which is home to some of the best restaurants around.

Bánh mì — a sweet–and–tangy Vietnamese sandwich traditionally made with rich pork and crunchy pickled vegetables on a toasted mayo-slathered bun — is a local favorite. This plant-forward version hews to the area’s penchant for experimentation: breadcrumbed and fried wedges of perfectly ripened California Avocado stand in for the usual cold cuts or grilled meats.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

Start with the Best Produce

Residents in the Bay Area are fortunate to have easy access to a variety of excellent produce. This includes California Avocados, which are grown in optimal conditions just south of the region, with plenty of fertile soil, coastal breezes, and lots of sunshine. As the main component of this sandwich, the perfectly ripened, not-too-firm, not-too-soft California Avocado slices are distinctive for their buttery flavor and creamy texture.

To get picture-perfect slices every time, the California Avocados are halved, pitted, and evenly sliced lengthwise. Lightly coated in flour, soy sauce-seasoned eggs, and panko bread crumbs, the California Avocado wedges are then shallow fried to crisp, golden-brown perfection.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

Pickled Vegetables Ready in Under 30 Minutes

No bánh mì is considered complete without the refreshing sweet-tangy crunch of pickled vegetables. Here, carrot and daikon matchsticks are pickled in a solution of distilled white vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt (cooled down quickly with the help of ice cubes). The pickles are done in the time it takes to prepare the rest of the sandwich.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

A simple swipe of Sriracha mayo on the interiors of the split French sandwich rolls gets the base ready, while thinly sliced cucumber strips, jalapeño slices, and cilantro sprigs top off this simple yet satisfying vegetarian sandwich.

Before You Cook…

Fried California Avocado Bánh Mì Recipe

Panko-fried California Avocado slices and pickled vegetables are stuffed into a crusty roll for this West Coast take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich.

Prep time 1 hour

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the pickles:

  • 2

    medium carrots

  • 1 (6-ounce) piece

    daikon no more than 2 inches wide

  • 1/2 cup

    distilled white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup

    ice cubes

For the fried California Avocados:

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    soy sauce

  • 1 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 2

    ripe but firm medium California Avocados (about 6 ounces each)

  • 1 cup

    neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable

For the sandwiches:

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon

    Sriracha hot sauce

  • 4

    (6-inch) French sandwich rolls or bolillo rolls

  • 1/2 cup

    thinly sliced English or Persian cucumber

  • 1/2

    medium jalapeño pepper (optional)

  • 8 sprigs

    fresh cilantro

Instructions

Make the pickles:

  1. Peel and cut 2 medium carrots and 1 (6-ounce) piece daikon into 1/8-inch-thick, 3-inch-long matchsticks. Place 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add 1/2 cup ice cubes, and stir until melted. Add the vegetables and stir to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes. Stir and transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the fried California Avocados:

  1. Place 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a wide, shallow bowl and whisk to combine. Place 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce in a second wide, shallow bowl, and whisk to combine. Place 1 cup panko breadcrumbs in a third wide, shallow bowl. Place a baking sheet next to the breadcrumbs.

  2. Halve 2 ripe but firm medium California Avocados lengthwise. Remove and discard the pits. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 (about 1/2-inch-wide) slices. Remove and discard the peel.

  3. Bread the California Avocado 1 slice at a time: Coat in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in the egg mixture until completely coated and allow any excess to drip off. Place in the breadcrumbs and roll to coat, patting gently so the crumbs adhere well to each side. Place on the baking sheet.

Make the sandwiches:

  1. Heat 1 cup neutral cooking oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat to 365°F. Meanwhile, line a second baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Place 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon Sriracha in a small bowl and stir until combined. Drain the pickles. Thinly slice English or Persian cucumbers crosswise until you have 1/2 cup. Thinly slice 1/2 medium jalapeño pepper crosswise if desired. Pick the leaves from 8 fresh cilantro sprigs. Split and toast 4 French sandwich rolls.

  2. Fry the California Avocado wedges in batches of 8: Add the wedges to the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crisp on all 3 sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Using a flat spatula or tongs, transfer the California Avocado to the paper towels. Season with kosher salt.

  3. Spread the Sriracha mayonnaise on the cut sides of each roll (about 1 tablespoon per half). Assemble the sandwiches: Place the fried California Avocado on the bottom half of each roll. Top with the pickles, cucumbers, jalapeño, and cilantro. Close with the top halves of the rolls and cut each sandwich in half with a serrated knife.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pickled carrot and daikon can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container, but will become more pungent the longer they pickle in the fridge.