Sandwich #157–“Burnt to a Crisp” Shrimp Banh Mi

By 300 Sandwiches

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DSC_0964E teases me because I like my food well done. “You like your food nuked until all flavor has exited,” he says. I took that declaration to heart the other night.

I love having a glass of wine and fresh popped popcorn as a late night snack, particularly on Fridays after a hard day’s work and accompanied by a “Law & Order” marathon on TV. But a few nights ago, while E was out with friends, I burnt a bag of microwave popcorn so bad that smoke billowed out of the microwave for minutes. I seared my eyes while opening the bag. Somehow, I still salvaged about half of the popcorn inside. Like I said, I like my food well done.

E came home shortly thereafter. “Ugh, someone burned popcorn,” he yelled as I sat on the couch. “I thought the apartment was on fire! You can smell it on the street. It’s disgusting!”
I stared at him, looking guilty.
“Oh god, it smells in here,” he said.
I still didn’t say anything.
“Was that you? For chrissake, how did you burn it that badly?”
I scooped some of the burnt but edible kernels into my hand. “Want some?”

The next day, a perfect summer Saturday, I made shrimp bahn mi sandwiches. After last night’s embarrassing cooking mishap, I took meticulous care to not burn the shrimp or the bread as I cooked. I flipped the shrimp several times during cooking, and only toasted the bread lightly at 250 degrees in the oven. The sandwiches turned out great.

“Babes, this is cooked just right,” E said, devouring his before I could pour a glass of Rose. We ate the refreshing yet spicy lunch together on the couch, the smell of burnt popcorn still hanging in in the air.

2 baguettes
3/4 pound shrimp
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup loosely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cucumber, sliced
2 medium carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

Peel and devain shrimp, then butterfly each. Mix cumin, cayenne and paprika in a small bowl. Dredge shrimp through spice mixture. Warm a non-stick skillet over low to medium heat with the small teaspoon of olive oil. Cook shrimp for about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping once, until shrimp are white and no longer translucent.

Toast bread. Mix mayonnaise, sriracha, lemon juice and a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro into a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lay bread open on cutting board. Slather on sriracha mayonnaise. Then layer on cilantro, cucumber, carrot, and shrimp. Top with a small dollop of more mayonnaise, and more cilantro, and serve. Makes two sized sandwiches.

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