You'll want to think of this dish as a cross between Italian Panzanella and the Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich....two of my very favorite things on earth. It's an Italian-Asian Fusion dish of sorts...one that explodes with flavor and textural crunch...honestly it's amazing. I could have
shoveled eaten a few more plates full.
One of the secrets to the Banh Mi sandwich, and this salad of course, is perfectly seasoned meat. This is why I use my fave sausage by Johnsonville. I seriously love their stuff when it comes to flavor. And no one is paying me to say that! It's just good. And it works. This recipe is no exception.
With lots of pickled, crunchy veggies like carrots, cucumbers and daikon radish the salad has a great taste. Have you ever had daikon radish? It's much milder than the red radish but gives a really nice flavor.
And the bread....swoon. I used a crusty Tuscan loaf. Any type of thick crusted bread will do...it was awesome when flavored with the salad ingredients and baked with a spicy Sriracha oil.
The salad is finished off with a garlic-chili mayo, which basically takes it to the next level. It really. packs a flavor punch.
I'm afraid to make it again soon, I know I could eat the whole thing myself...yikes.
Banh Mi Bread Salad
- 1 whole English cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 6 ounces matchstick carrots (you can buy them already cut up this way)
- 6 ounces daikon radish, cut into 2" matchsticks 1/8" thick
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 Tablespoons table salt
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 pound crusty loaf of bread
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Sriracha
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- 4 teaspoons chili garlic paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, more for garnish
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, more for garnish
- 1 (15 ounce) package Johnsonville Italian ground sausage
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pickling juice from veggies made earlier.
- For the pickiling, place cucumber, daikon, carrot, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Use your hands to massage the salt and sugar into the vegetables until they begin to soften and release water. Let sit for 30 minutes, then drain. Combine the vinegar, remaining 1 cup of sugar and water in a medium bowl, mix until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the drained vegetables and refrigerate until ready to use, at least one hour. (Note: You will be using 1/4 cup of this juice in the recipe later, do not throw out.)
- For the bread, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into 3/4" cubes and place in a large bowl. Combine oils, Sriracha and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss oil mixture well with bread cubes. Place bread on a large, rimmed baking sheet and season again with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until cubes are crusty, about 20 minutes. Toss occasionally while cooking.
- Combine all ingredients for the chili-garlic mayonnaise in a small bowl. Place in a squeeze bottle. Set aside or refrigerate until use.
- For the salad, chop mint and cilantro. Set aside. Combine olive oil and reserved pickiling juice in a bowl. Set aside. Cook sausage over medium-high heat until done.
- Salad Assembly: Add toasted bread cubes to a very large bowl and toss well with olive oil-pickling juice mixture. Drain the cucumber-carrot mixture and add to bread bowl. Add mint, cilantro and cooked sausage and toss until well combined. Drizzle salad with chili-garlic-mayo and garnish with cilantro and mint leaves.
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Disclosure: Johnsonville provided the sausage for this post. However, all opinions are my own.