- Course: Main Course
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
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Friends always jokingly encourage me to open a soup-and-sandwich shop—usually after I’ve coerced them into hours of hard labor in my garden. We’re famished, and I always come through with a “surprise” sandwich and cold beer. Save the avocados, which do not grow in the Hudson Valley, I try to use fresh local ingredients for the rest of the filling.
White bean spread:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- One 16-ounce can white beans (great northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock or reduced-sodium broth
- 12 slices whole-wheat bread, lightly toasted
- 12 small inner leaves romaine lettuce
- Eight ¼-inch-thick slices tomato
- 12 very thin slices red onion (a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline will get the job done)
- 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced into thin wedges (6 to 8 each, depending on size)
- 8 ounces thinly sliced cooked chicken breast
- 8 pork or turkey bacon strips, cooked until crisp (optional)
- 2 cups broccoli or alfalfa sprouts (4 ounces)
To make the white bean spread, heat the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and cayenne pepper in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the garlic just starts to brown, add the white beans. Cook, tossing or stirring, for 1 minute. Add the white wine and cook for another minute to reduce. Then add the broth and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. Set the white bean spread aside (it will thicken as it cools).
Spread 2 tablespoons of the cooled white bean spread over 1 slice of toast; top with 3 lettuce leaves, 2 tomato slices, 3 onion slices, another slice of toast, another tablespoon of white bean spread, 3 or 4 slices of avocado, one-fourth of the chicken, 2 bacon strips (if using), and ½ cup of the sprouts. Top with a final slice of toast spread with 1 last tablespoon of white bean spread. Cut the sandwich diagonally into quarters; secure the quarters with wooden picks. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 sandwiches.
• Omit the rosemary from the white bean spread and add 4 or 5 chopped fresh basil leaves.
• For a kick, stir some ancho or poblano chili paste, harissa, or salsa into the spread.
• Substitute preserved tomatoes or pickled vegetables (zucchini, cucumber pickles, eggplant, mushrooms, or onions, for example) when the local fresh ones are out of season.
• Use mesclun or arugula in place of the romaine, and omit the chicken and bacon to make a veggie decker sandwich.
Great with a seasonal pureed vegetable soup—think butternut squash, corn, leek, spinach—and/or chips.
White bean spread is a diverse and flavorful alternative to mayonnaise and other sandwich moisteners. Along with the whole-wheat bread, you’ll get more than half of your daily fiber, plus oodles of vitamins, nutrients, and phytochemicals.
© 2009 Laura Pensiero
Nutritional information does not include optional pork or turkey bacon strips.