Recipe: Soy-slicked salmon adds a fishy twist to Banh mi

Courtesy Lynda Balslev

This two-fisted sandwich is inspired by a Vietnamese banh mi. Banh mi is a fusion of Vietnamese and French cuisines. It comprises a soft baguette layered with meat (often pork or chicken), quick pickles, leafy herbs and chiles, with a generous smear of pate, aioli or mayonnaise. It's a delectable convergence of contrasts -- crunchy, juicy, creamy textures and sweet, salty, spicy flavors -- that deservedly nudges this specialty into addictive territory. It also provides enough flexibility in ingredients to appeal to nearly everyone, with perhaps the one fixed rule: Provide plenty of napkins. 

This variation jettisons meat and replaces it with a soy- and Sriracha-slicked salmon fillet. Wafer-thin cucumbers and quick pickled carrot and daikon provide crunchy, sweet and sharp freshness. A garlicky, spicy yogurt-mayo sauce lends cool creaminess to every bite. (You can use all mayonnaise if you prefer.) For the bread, choose a wide baguette to contain the fillings or individual sandwich baguettes. Lightly toast the bread to help prevent sogginess from the fillings and lend more crunch to the eating experience.

Salmon Banh Mi

Active time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time

Yield: Makes 2 sandwiches


▶ 1/4 cup soy sauce

▶ 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar 

▶ 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 

▶ 1 tablespoon sesame oil 

▶ 1 teaspoon Sriracha

▶ 2 skinless salmon fillets, each 6 to 7 ounces and 3/4 inch thick, pin bones removed


▶ 1 medium carrot, peeled, coarsely grated

▶ 1 (3-inch) daikon, peeled, coarsely grated

▶ 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

▶ 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar 

▶ 1 tablespoon sugar

▶ 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


▶ 1/2 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt 

▶ 2 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise

▶ 1 garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press

▶ 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

▶ 1 teaspoon Sriracha 

▶ Pinch of kosher salt

▶ 1 large baguette, cut into two (5- to 6-inch) center-cut sections (or 2 small sandwich baguettes)

▶ 1 (3-inch) piece of English cucumber, very thinly sliced 

▶ 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, seeded (optional)

▶ Fresh cilantro sprigs

Whisk the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Spread the salmon in a snug baking dish or glass container. Pour the marinade over and turn to coat. Transfer the salmon to the refrigerator and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Combine the slaw ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or refrigerate for longer. When ready to use, drain the vegetables well.

Whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. 

When ready to assemble, remove the salmon from the marinade. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until cooked through the center and slightly charred on top, 5 to 7 minutes, rotating the pan once or twice. 

Place the bread, cut sides up, on a separate baking sheet or rack and broil until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. 

To assemble, brush both cut sides of the baguette with the sauce. Arrange a layer of cucumber over the bottom, slightly overlapping. Top with a layer of the slaw. Arrange a salmon filet over the slaw. Top with jalapenos and cilantro sprigs. Close the sandwich and serve immediately.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning writer, cookbook author, and recipe developer based in northern California. Visit TasteFood at


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