Monday, April 30, 2012

Edamame, Broccoli and Cream Cheese Sandwich

Is edamame (young/green soy beans) really the secret of Victoria Beckham's enviably stick thin figure? Well, some years ago, the former Spice Girl revealed that her edamame-rich diet kept her slim. She let herself cheat on a single cupcake once in a while but mainly, she feasted on edamame, strawberries and lettuce. 

No, I am not about to go on the Posh diet quite yet but I must say she chose a delicious and extremely nutritious vegetable as her staple. Known as the "magic bean", edamame is rich in amino acids and is a protein source. It's also high in fibre, rich in vitamin C and folic acid and is known to lower your cholesterol. 

Most importantly, the young beans are delicious: nutty and sweet. I love edamame. The Japanese consume a lot of edamame: boiled and seasoned lightly with salt, the beans are a great accompaniment to beer or sake and a delicious appetizer before a meal of sushi.

It also makes for a delicious dip, a great base for vegetarian burger patties (keep and eye out for my next post) and a fantastic sandwich filling. 

Edamame forms the base of this sandwich filling.

Step one: Boil about a cup of beans for ten minutes or so. Remove the beans from their pods and roughly mashed them.  Season with salt, black pepper and finely chopped garlic. Next, mix in 3 tbsp of cream cheese and 1/4 cup grated carrots to the bean mash. What you get it is a thick spread. At this point, with a couple of drops of lemon juice, you could it  into a dip too but I'd suggest you try it in a sandwich first. I spread a thick layer of the bean mash (make sure you leave some half bean chunks in, for some bite) on the base of my sandwich.

That was step one. Oh, I forgot to mention, step zero is to get good bread. Good, sturdy bread that won't dissolve once you load it with filling. I used the Zucchini and Cheese Loaf I made yesterday.

Step two: The next step is adding texture to the sandwich. No one really likes a completely mushy sandwich, right? I like a little crunch too and so, instead of lettuce, I added roasted 1/2 cup of broccoli florets — just toss the broccoli florets in olive oil and roast them for about 15 to 20 minutes and season with salt and pepper — on top of the edamame spread. Have you tried roasted broccoli? It's really fantastic.

Next comes the cheese layer.

Grilled cheese sandwiches have a huge appeal for me. I toasted my bread and then added a generous layer of  mozzarella on the top slice of bread and popped it under the grill for a few minutes for it to melt.

At the same time, I toasted a few walnuts (you could use almonds or cashews), chopped them fine and sprinkled them over the broccoli.

When the cheese has melted, press the top layer over the sandwich and you're good to go!

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