Wednesday, September 19, 2012

broccoli rabe & red pepper hoagie melts, gluten-free

There are certain things in life one should just be able to indulge in, regardless of the aren't supposed to's, the probably shouldn'ts, or the no way no how no when's.  Of course I'm not suggesting that indulgence takes precedence over safety (not most of the time, anyway), but if there's this thing that's just so incredibly impossibly amazing that chef's, cooks, and hungry people in numerous cultures have created and savored it for decades, possibly even centuries, then why shouldn't all god's two-legged creatures enjoy it?

I'm talkin' about the hoagie, friends.  You may know this marvel by its other monikers - Submarine Sandwich, Grinder, or perhaps, my personal favorite, Hero.  Yes, I close my eyes and am met with visions of a piquant protector, tough, toasted exterior, cloaked in melty cheese, a defender of deliciousness. 

My last encounter with such a bready, cheese and condiment-stuffed beast was, sadly,  further back than my ever-decreasing memory could possibly muster.  A gluten-free life is a hoagie-free life... isn't it?

Not anymore.

One would argue (and by one, I mean me) that the bread is the key to a successful submarine experience.  One expects the bread to be elongated, a torpedo of doughy center surrounded by a shell of crunchy satisfaction.  Fortunately for all us GF-ers out there, I figured out a way to bring the wonder of the Hero back into our lives.

Crime rates most likely won't be affected, but we'll most likely be too involved eating to give a damn anyway.

This recipe is further fantasticized by its filling.  Sauteed broccoli rabe (or broccollini, depending on your mood) and red bell peppers, a garlicky white bean spread, fontina cheese, and turkey bacon.  Quite the lineup.

The most unexpected pleasure this sandwich brought us came from the seemed underdog of the list above, the white bean spread.  It sounded weird and potentially disappointing to me when I encountered it.  I didn't breathe a word about white beans to Sweets when I told her what I was making.  She's the world's fiercest skeptic when it comes to my dinner ideas.

Her eyes went aglow when the white bean spread touched her taste buds, and she informed me that I was to give her a lot on her sandwich.  I promise its worth the small effort, friends.  Make the bean spread.   

Slather it on to your toasty buns and load that thing up with veggies, cheese and bacon.  Bake, melt, and enjoy.

This recipe is a two-parter, due to its length, but don't be deterred.  Focus on baking yourself some incredible gluten-free bread first, and then turn your mind to the creation of your sandwich.  These rolls can be made a day in advance, if your hoagie feasting isn't happening until tomorrow.  They can also be wrapped well in plastic and frozen for a sandwich party a couple of weeks away.

Continue on down the page for my hoagie melt recipe.

French Rolls (Hoagie Buns)
makes 4 rolls
based on the French Bread recipe in 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster

Gluten-free Flour Blend:  make up this blend ahead of time and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.  Try it as your 'all-purpose' GF flour mix in other recipes as well.
3/4 C. sorghum flour
1/4 C. teff flour
1/2 C. amaranth flour
1 1/2 C. potato starch
1 C. tapioca starch (or tapioca flour - same thing)
  • Whisk together these ingredients until well blended.

For the French Rolls:
2 T. active dry yeast (I plan to experiment with cutting this amount down to avoid a yeasty flavor)
2 T. sugar, divided
1 C. plus 2 T. warm water
3 large egg whites (or 1/2 C.) at room temp.
2 C. potato starch
1 C. gluten-free flour blend (see recipe above)
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. guar gum
1 tsp. salt
1/4 C. coconut oil, melted
2 tsp. cider vinegar
about 1 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)

  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 T. sugar in warm water.  Set aside to activate yeast while prepping the remainder of the recipe.

  • Grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine egg whites, potato starch, sorghum blend, xanthan gum, guar gum, salt, oil, vinegar, remaining 1 T. sugar, and yeast mixture.  Beat on low speed to blend, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds.  Dough will be very soft and sticky, almost like a batter.

  • Divide the dough into 4 equal-sized portions on the prepared baking sheet.  Shape each loaf into a blunt-edged oval with a wet spatula or wet fingers.  Try to make all 4 loaves about the same shape, size & height.

  • Use a sharp knife to make 3 diagonal slashes 1/8" deep in each loaf.  Sprinkle loaves with sesame seeds.

  • Place baking sheet immediately on the middle rack of a cold oven.  Set the oven temp to 425 degrees F, and bake approximately 35 minutes, or until loaves are golden brown.

  • Remove loaves from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing or storing.
      ***Tent bread loosely with foil overnight for use the next day or before wrapping in plastic to freeze.

Broccoli Rabe & Red Pepper Hoagie Melts
makes 4 sandwiches

For the White Bean Puree:
6 T. olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1- 15 oz. can cannellini beans with liquid
salt & pepper, to taste

For the Hoagies:
2 T. olive oil
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded & julienned
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
8 oz. turkey bacon, cooked
5-6 oz. thinly sliced fontina cheese
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 Hoagie Buns (see recipe above)

White Bean Puree:
  • Heat half of the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring often, until the garlic begins to turn golden.

  • Add beans and liquid to garlic and oil, bring to a simmer and cook until liquid thickens, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor, add remaining olive oil, and process until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add broccoli rabe and about 2 T. of water.  Stir, cover and steam until broccoli rabe is bright green but still crunchy, a few minutes.  Add bell pepper and red pepper flakes to pan, and saute uncovered, stirring often, until broccoli rabe and red peppers are cooked through but not mushy.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Slice open hoagie buns and place on a large baking sheet.

  • Spread a generous amount of white bean puree on one side of each bun.  Top each bun with sliced onion, turkey bacon, sliced fontina, and broccolini mixture.  Place top side of bun over each sandwich.

  • Place baking sheet in the oven and toast until cheese is melted, about 7-10 minutes.  Slice and serve hoagies warm.

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