Open-Faced Focaccia with Fava Bean Spread and Tofu

Yield: 2 sandwiches; 2 3/4 cups spread

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vegetarian iconVegetarian corn-free iconCorn-free egg-free iconEgg-free peanut-free iconPeanut-free tree nut-free iconTree nut-free

This sandwich uses a wonderful, mellow, but richly flavored spread made with fava beans. Fresh fava beans require a bit of work, with the shelling and peeling, but they are worth it. Look for fresh or frozen fava beans at PCC.

The tofu is very simple. Not all tofu needs to be marinated. In this recipe, a cast-iron skillet is recommended to quickly brown or blacken the tofu. You may also want to grill the tofu, as well as the focaccia, for even more flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fava beans, shelled (you want to end up with about a pound of shelled beans)* Add to list
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice Add to list
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Add to list
  • 1/2 sheet nori, toasted and crumbled** Add to list
  • 1 teaspoon salt Add to list
  • Freshly ground pepper Add to list
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced Add to list
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil plus 2 or 3 fresh leaves, thinly sliced Add to list
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Add to list
  • 1/2 pound firm tofu, pressed of water, sliced into 4 cutlets Add to list
  • 1 piece of focaccia, about 6 x 4 inches, sliced horizontally into 2 thinner pieces Add to list
  • A few thinly shaved slices of Pecorino Romano cheese Add to list
  • 4 to 6 fresh ripe tomato slices Add to list

Preparation

Fill a bowl with ice water and set aside.

Cook the shelled beans in a large saucepan of boiling water until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes; or 30 seconds to 1 minute if they are very small beans. Drain the beans and plunge into the ice bath. Drain again, then immediately peel the beans. Do this by pinching off a small piece of skin and popping the "naked" bean out.

In a food processor, purée the beans along with the lemon juice, olive oil, nori, salt, pepper, garlic, and 1 tablespoon chopped basil. Scrape down the sides a few times. Purée until very creamy. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and quickly sear for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Spread half of fava bean purée over each cut side of focaccia. Layer on the tofu, Romano cheese, tomato slices, and basil leaves, dividing evenly between the sandwiches. Season with a dusting of salt and pepper, if you desire. Drizzle on additional extra virgin olive oil for an authentic touch.

Notes

*If fresh fava beans are not in season, substitute 1 pound frozen broad, fava or lima beans. Run under warm water to thaw.

**If nori is not already toasted, place the sheet in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, turning several times until the sheet turns a brighter green.

Recipe by Chef Ken Charney, former PCC staff

Source: Sound Consumer June 2002

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More about: fava beans, tofu, tomatoes

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