I made homemade Kaiser rolls, and I had a plan for them. I had been thinking about these sandwiches on Kaiser rolls for a year, or the recipe had been sitting in my files for that long anyway. Last September, these num pangs appeared in Food and Wine, and the combination of big flavors and crisp vegetables was something I wanted to try. They could have been made with just about any roll, and semolina baguettes were suggested as another option, but they were shown on Kaiser rolls which seemed just right. There’s a lot going on in these sandwiches. The julienned carrots aren’t just raw carrots. They’re crisped in vinegar with a little sugar. And, the pesto is no standard pesto. It’s made with Thai basil and spiked with anchovies, lime juice, and fish sauce. That’s not all. While plain mayonnaise would have been good, drizzled with sriracha, it was even better.
So, to make those quick-pickled carrots, cider vinegar and sugar were combined and the julienned carrot sticks were tossed in the mixture. That was left at room temperature for an hour and stirred from time to time. The pesto was made by whizzing the following in a food processor: Thai basil leaves, anchovies, lime juice, fish sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, and chopped garlic. The Kaiser rolls were split, toasted, and buttered, and then it was time to build sandwiches. One side of each roll was spread with mayonnaise and drizzled with sriracha, and the other side was topped with pesto. The sandwich was layered with thinly sliced cucumber, piquillo peppers, carrots, and cilantro leaves.
This sandwich has been by far my favorite use of these Kaiser rolls. For a sandwich full of vegetables, the flavor was incredible. The smokiness from the piquillos was a nice touch, but even raw red bell pepper strips would have been great. I definitely recommend the pesto, and there’s a tip in the recipe intro for a quicker version. Store-bought basil pesto could be doctored by adding chiles, lime juice, and fish sauce for a similar result. I also wouldn’t skip the sriracha on the mayonnaise. In fact, that will be appearing on almost all of my future sandwiches.