This is just a whole bunch of awesome! Each component of this classic Vietnamese sandwich adds plenty of depth and character, so the dish as a whole is complex and amazing.
One of our secrets here is adding a little cocoa powder to the Shiitake Mushroom Paté. My friend Tuyen, a Vietnamese chef, urged me to try it, and I've made my paté with cocoa ever since. It's strange how savory cocoa powder is without a bunch of sugar mixed with it. Somehow it's super meaty-tasting.
Do Chua (recipe follows)
Shiitake Mushroom Paté (recipe follows)
Grilled Eggplant (recipe follows)
2 12-inch crispy baguettes
1/4 cup mayonaise
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 cucumber (sliced)
1 serrano or jalapeño (thinly sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)
cilantro leaves (to garnish)
2 medium limes (quartered)
sea salt (to taste)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make the Do Choa, Shiitake Mushroom Paté, and Grilled Eggplant according to the recipes. In a 350-degree oven, warm the baguettes so the outside of them is nice and crispy. Split the baguette down one side and leave the other side intact (like a hinge). In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sriracha to make sriracha mayo. Start assembling the sandwiches by spreading the sriracha mayo on the top and the paté on the bottom. Continue by adding eggplant, cucumber, hot pepper slices, sliced green onion, Do Chua, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Add sea salt to taste. Cut each sandwich in half and serve with lime wedges. (Makes 4 servings.)