The Banh Mi of Our Dreams: Meatballs are Hot
When will I learn not to make such a potschke when I’m rushing out to a potluck. But it’s always fun to experiment when you have an audience of food lovers that includes more folks than just your husband. So for the Slow Food Corvallis annual potluck, I decided to make the Pork Meatball Banh Mi, that hybrid Vietnamese-French creation that had been calling to me from the meatball special issue of Bon Appetit. There’s something about these umami-packed sandwiches that I always crave. Is it the mushroom or liver pate slathered on the baguette? Or the Sriracha-accented mayo? Or the quick-pickled daikon and radish slivers? None of these parts on their own are that special. But together they create a truly memorable culinary creation. Let’s just say that Baguette is my favorite, not to mention the cheapest, place to eat in town.
I wasn’t excited to make another porky dish, but these meatballs were ethereal. Seasoned with basil, chopped lemongrass (my addition), Sriracha chile sauce and a dash of fish sauce, they were like the most succulent dumpling filling. I also happened to make them with special hazelnut-finished Red Wattle pork from Heritage Farms Northwest, which I ordered through the new online farmer’s market, Corvallis Local Foods. They are pretty adorable, happy pigs…and the adults can weigh up to a ton! We had this rare pork at a Slow Food dinner where we compared it to a more conventional breed.
As a vegetarian option, I also made this curried wild mushroom pate for the banh mi, with shiitakes and velvety delicate winter chanterelles (who knew they grew all winter?) also ordered through Corvallis Local Foods. Other dishes at the potluck last night included a lush truffled potato gratin, a Moroccan lamb and pumpkin tagine, and brie baked in homemade, extra yolky brioche. For dessert, we feasted on some ethereal homemade Fig Newtons, baked with locally wheat from Harrisburg, that were infinitely better than the Nabisco ones. It was great to again meet Linda Ziedrich, the author of inspiring cookbooks on pickling and jamming, there, though I’m not sure what she made. We’ve had her call into the KBOO show, and I ran her membrillo recipe with my quince article. Dan was delighted that Intaba sent her excellent (and I think gluten-free?) spinach and meat lasagna home with us, so that was dinner tonight. When a bunch of foodies gather, that’s one potluck where you know you’ll eat well.