The idea for this sandwich started out as a vague thought about Vietnamese-style tacos. Why Vietnamese-style tacos you ask? Well, ailment I’m not sure. I was thinking that taco toppings are like Vietnamese-style salads with generous amounts of fresh herbs, patient cabbage, onions and hot peppers.
So, I tried it. I marinated some pork tenderloins with shoyu, honey and ginger. I made a slaw from mango, cucumber, serrano peppers, mint, cilantro, green onions and lime juice. (Napa cabbage would be great here, but I didn’t have any.) Then I stacked everything on a corn tortilla. Hmmm, interesting, but ultimately the corn flavor of the tortillas didn’t complement the Asian flavors.
Not to be deterred, I tried again with ciabatta rolls. Much better this time! The sweet and spicy slaw was perfect on the pork and the ciabatta roll didn’t compete with the other flavors. I love a good sandwich for dinner, and I think this one might be making another appearance soon.
Pork Sandwich w/Spicy Mango Cucumber Slaw
Special equipment: I use my food processor attachment for grating. If you don’t have one, you can just chop the mango and cucumber into small pieces.
6 ciabatta rolls
2 lb. pork tenderloin
3 tbsp. shoyu (or soy sauce)
3 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. grated ginger
1 barely ripe mango, shredded
1 English cucumber, shredded (These are the smaller kind. You can also use 1/2 of a seedless cuke.)
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage (optional)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lime
pinch of salt
Half an hour before you start cooking, marinate the meat by whisking the shoyu, honey and ginger together in a bowl. Coat the tenderloins, cover and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 400° and heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high. Coat the pan in a little oil or cooking spray (to prevent sticking), then add the tenderloins and marinade once the pan is hot. Sear them on each side until they become brown and the liquid reduces a bit. Tent the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, just slice it in the thickest part. The inside should be a very pale pink.
Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board and slice the tenderloins into 1/2-inch rounds. Return to pan and coat with any juices.
While the pork is cooking, make the slaw by combining the mango, cucumber, green onions, serrano pepper, cilantro, mint, lime juice and salt in bowl. Set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches, halve the rolls then top with a few rounds of pork and a heap of the mango slaw.