Salty, spicy, briny, pickled, hot, sour; lately all I want to do is eat foods that are intensely savory. Just last night I was saying that everything I had tasted throughout a recent meal needed salt or a hit of acid, readily admitting that if I could drink condiments I would (actually, I had a martini with pickle brine at Kinshop recently which was pretty close to heaven).
This recipe came out of my craving for a sandwich that would pack multiple flavors and textures in a single bite. I use tangy, sour-sweet tomatillos for salsas verdes on a regular basis, but lately have been enjoying them fresh, tossed with Maldon salt, pepper, and chilled watermelon. I thought their fruity acidity would make an interesting contrast with coarse yellow cornmeal, which, when fried, smells just like campfire popcorn.
The crisp, golden cornmeal crust encases the tomatillo, which turns tender and soft during cooking. To add a smoky, crunchy layer to the sandwich, strips of bacon hide underneath the tomatillos. Spicy mayo laced with Asian ingredients like fish sauce and Sriracha add a creamy, bold accent, while peppery radish, vibrant cilantro, and licorice-scented basil contribute a refreshing element that ties everything together.
Hands down my favorite sandwich in the past few weeks. Sorry, Elvis.
- Yield:makes 4 sandwiches
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- For the Spicy Mayonnaise:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon fresh juice from 2 to 3 limes
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- For the Bacon and Tomatillos:
- 8 slices bacon
- 8 large tomatillos (about 2 pounds), husks removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- For the Assembly:
- 4 crusty rolls, halved
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
For the Spicy Mayonnaise: Whisk mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and fish sauce in medium bowl until smooth. Season with additional soy sauce or fish sauce if desired.
For the Bacon and Tomatillos: Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Turn off heat, leaving bacon drippings in skillet.
Season tomatillos with salt and pepper. Place flour in large plate and cornmeal in second large plate. Beat eggs and Sriracha in medium bowl. Dredge tomatillos in flour, dip in eggs, and press into cornmeal, coating each slice evenly on both sides. Arrange coated tomatillos on large plate or baking sheet.
Line baking sheet with paper towels. Add vegetable oil to bacon drippings and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add tomatillo slices and cook until crisp and golden on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Season with salt immediately.
For the Assembly: Spread interior of rolls on both sides with spicy mayonnaise. Arrange 2 bacon pieces on each roll, then top with tomatillos. Distribute radishes, basil, and cilantro evenly among sandwiches. Serve.