Mini Vietnamese Pork and Pickle Sandwiches

  • SERVINGS: makes 4 dozen canapés

The model for these diminutive hors d'oeuvres is the hefty baguette sandwiches at one of Zak Pelaccio's favorite hangouts, a tiny, family-run Vietnamese restaurant called Saigon Banh Mi in Manhattan's Chinatown.

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  1. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  2. 2 tablespoons honey
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  5. 1 daikon radish (1 pound), peeled, then julienned on a mandoline
  6. 1 large carrot, peeled, then julienned on a mandoline
  7. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  8. 1/2 pound ground pork
  9. 1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage or breakfast sausage, casings removed
  10. 1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger
  11. 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  12. 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  13. 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  14. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  15. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  16. Salt
  17. 2 baguettes, halved lengthwise
  18. 1 medium kirby cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)
  19. 20 cilantro sprigs
  20. Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the fish sauce with the honey, lime juice and crushed red pepper. Add the daikon and carrot and toss well, then refrigerate.
  2. In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat the oil. Add the ground pork and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until pale, about 4 minutes. Crumble in the sausage and cook, breaking it up, until no trace of pink remains, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger, pepper, coriander, fennel, half of the garlic, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Mix the mayonnaise with the remaining garlic and season with salt.
  4. Bake the baguettes until just crisp, about 4 minutes.
  5. Spread the cut sides of the baguette bottoms with the garlic mayonnaise and spread the pork on top, pressing to help it adhere. Layer the cucumber slices on top. Gently squeeze the daikon-carrot pickle and scatter 2 cups of it over the cucumber. Top with the cilantro sprigs and squiggles of the Sriracha sauce. Close the sandwiches and using a heavy knife, cut them into 1 1/2-inch lengths, then arrange on a platter and serve.
Make Ahead
The pickles, pork mixture and garlic mayonnaise can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. Gently reheat the pork before assembling.