Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

Été 2018
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food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

If you’re sure you don’t like tofu, this sandwich serves up a revelation. Parmesan crusted and fried in olive oil, the tofu adds custardy warmth and flavour to juicy seasonal tomatoes. The flavours here are inspired by one of my favourite pestos, Pesto alla Trapanese, a specialty of the town of Trapani on Sicily’s western coast. In it, juicy cherry tomatoes are combined with almonds, basil, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil.

ROASTED ALMOND, GARLIC & BASIL SPREAD
1 cup (250 mL) raw almonds
¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if necessary
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1 clove garlic
⅓ cup (80 mL) packed basil leaves
8 slices, ¼ inch thick (5 mm) medium-firm tofu
2 eggs, lightly whisked
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups (375 mL) finely grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil for frying
1½ lbs (680 g) heirloom tomatoes, preferably a variety of colours
8 slices grilled or toasted sourdough

1. For the spread, roast nuts in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 8 minutes or until fragrant and toasted; cool completely.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine almonds, oil and salt; work mixture into a fine paste as you would a nut butter, scraping down as necessary. Add garlic and basil; pulse until smooth (if mixture seizes, thin with an additional drizzle of olive oil). Set aside.

3. Arrange tofu slices in a single layer on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Place eggs in a small bowl, season generously with salt and pepper; arrange Parmesan in a second bowl.

4. Heat enough olive oil to coat a large skillet over medium heat. Working with 1 slice at a time, gently coat tofu in egg, allowing excess to drain back into bowl. Coat in Parmesan, gently pressing to adhere. Fry in batches for 3 minutes per side or until crisp and golden. Set aside.

5. Cut tomatoes into thick slices. Divide almond spread between bread slices, spreading a thin layer on one side of each. Top 4 slices of bread with an equal amount of tomato, season with salt, then top each with 2 slices of tofu. Place remaining 4 slices of toast overtop and cut in half to serve.

Serves 4