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  • Writer's pictureKim Sherry

Savoring Sustainability: Salmon Bahn Mi

In my many experiments to use my local subsistence meat in new and interesting ways, I've discovered a delicious fusion sandwich, which I am really proud of!

In the world of culinary delights, few dishes offer the unique and tantalizing flavors like the traditional Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich. A fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisines, this iconic street food masterpiece typically features a baguette filled with a harmonious blend of savory meats, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and creamy sauces. But what if we reimagine this beloved classic with a sustainable twist, incorporating the rich and succulent flavors of Alaska salmon? Which many of us Alaskans, have plenty of.

In recent years, the push for sustainability in the food industry has gained momentum, and food consumers are increasingly seeking out eco-friendly options that support responsible fishing practices. Enter Alaska salmon—a shining example of sustainable seafood. With its abundant wild populations and carefully managed fisheries, Alaska salmon stands out as a beacon of environmental stewardship.

So, why does using salmon in a Bahn Mi sandwich make it unique? Let's explore.

The Traditional Bahn Mi: A Culinary Fusion

Before delving into the salmon variation, it's essential to understand the traditional Bahn Mi. This delectable sandwich traces its roots back to Vietnam's colonial past when French baguettes made their way into Vietnamese cuisine. Over time, the Bahn Mi evolved into a cultural melting pot, combining French baking techniques with Vietnamese flavors and ingredients.

Typically, a classic Bahn Mi features:

1. Baguette: A crisp and airy French baguette serves as the vessel for all the flavorful fillings.

2. Protein: Common protein choices include grilled pork, chicken, or tofu, seasoned with a medley of spices and marinades.

3. Pickled Vegetables: Tangy and crunchy pickled carrots, daikon radish, and sometimes cucumber add a refreshing contrast to the savory protein.

4. Fresh Herbs: Fragrant cilantro, mint, and sometimes basil lend a burst of freshness to each bite.

5. Condiments: Creamy mayonnaise or pâté, along with spicy chili sauce or jalapeños, provide the finishing touches.

Alaska Salmon: A Sustainable Delicacy

Now, let's introduce Alaska salmon into the mix. Renowned for its pristine waters and stringent conservation measures, Alaska's fisheries are a model of sustainability. From the icy waters of the Bering Sea to the pristine rivers of the Southeast, five species of wild Alaska salmon—Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, Pink, and Chum—thrive in their natural habitat.

By opting for Alaska salmon in our Bahn Mi sandwich, we're not only treating our taste buds to unparalleled flavor but also supporting responsible fishing practices and preserving delicate ecosystems. Alaska's fisheries adhere to strict quotas, habitat protection measures, and sustainable harvesting techniques, ensuring the long-term health of salmon populations and the environment.

Now, let's make this delicious sandwich!

For this recipe, you can also use canned salmon or even leftover baked salmon - if doing this, skip to step 4, but add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp granulated garlic and 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice blend.

  1. Start by seasoning a salmon filet with olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp granulated garlic and 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice blend.

  2. Bake the filet in the air fryer at 425F for 8 minutes.

  3. Once cooled, flake up your salmon and get all those little bones out. (we typically have quite a few little bones in there, as we are usually in a hurry when fileting our fish - have to remember to practice patience.)

  4. To the flaked up salmon add:

  • 1/2 cup Panko

  • 1/2 diced caramelized onion

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce

  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce

  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

  1. Mix thoroughly and shape into whatever sandwich or patty size you want.

  2. Saute patties in olive oil at medium heat until golden brown - be careful flipping as these are delicate patties, without a lot of binder. It will be worth in though, as they will be tantalizingly tender.

  3. Next build your beautiful Bahn Mi. Smother your bun or bread with Sriracha Mayonnaise. Then add the Salmon patty, tomato slices, cucumber, avocado, shredded lettuce, cilantro and more Sriracha Mayo to the top bun.

With each bite of my Alaska Salmon Bahn Mi, you'll experience a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, tangy, and spicy flavors, all while knowing that you're supporting sustainable practices and preserving the ocean's bounty for generations to come.

In conclusion, the Alaska Salmon Bahn Mi represents more than just a culinary delight—it's a celebration of sustainability, innovation, and the rich tapestry of global cuisine. So, the next time you're craving a taste of something extraordinary, indulge in this delectable sandwich and savor the flavors of Alaska's pristine waters, a place I'm proud to call home.

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