Cheese Sandwiches with White Kidney Beans
I always tell the girls that the most important ingredient for cooking is TLC. Making cheese sandwiches is no exception. There must be several layers that bind together properly for the sandwich to be a success. For this version (made for a picnic during our recent trip to Ashland), I had fresh strawberries left-over. So I blended the fruits into a purée and mixed it with cream cheese, sun dried-tomatoes and chives. I spread the strawberry cream cheese into cheese Kaiser rolls and topped it with cannellini salad, which provides the protein for the vegetarians in my family.
If you too are planning picnics with your family before school starts again, give this easy recipe a try. And if you're looking for back to school ideas for your children, this recipe might be it!
Yields: 8 sandwiches8 cheese and plain Kaiser rolls, sliced lengthwise
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, slightly toasted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
2 teaspoons onion chives, finely chopped
1 (5-ounce) package Romaine lettuce and radicchio pre-packaged salad
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon pistachio oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 ounces Dubliner cheese, deli-thin sliced
Prepping the strawberries: Hull the strawberries and add them to a blender. Blend the fruits. Strain the pulp through a medium-mesh sieve, using a silicone spatula to press through as much fruit purée as possible. Discard the solids.
How to make strawberry cream cheese spread:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan. Sauté the shallot with the red chili flakes (if used) in the oil over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the shallots from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown and the shallots are tender. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and chives. Turn off the heat.
Combine the shallot mixture, strawberry purée and cream cheese. Mix well.
Note: For a smoother texture, you could blend the spread using a mini- food prep.
Making cannellini salad:
For the salad dressing: In a bowl, combine the agave nectar, vinegar, mustard, remaining olive oil and pistachio oil. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the pine nuts, Romaine lettuce and radicchio. Drizzle with the salad dressing. Toss well.
Layer the sandwich with the strawberry cream cheese spread, add thin slices of Dubliner cheese, tomato slices and tightly pack the cannellini salad. Close the sandwich with a second piece of bread. Cut the sandwich into quarters.
Serve with potato chips on the side.
If you don't have shallots, you could caramelize onions instead. Frying shallots is pretty easy but time consuming. I also often have fried onions on hand in the freezer. So make them in advance and fry shallots in large batches to save time.
I love Dubliner cheese; it has a nutty flavor with a mild fruitiness. If you don't find it, you can replace it with another aged cheese such as Parmesan or Asiago.Published By: on August 9, 2010.