It all started with the fava beans hubby grew, most were tiny young beans, a spring green colour with no need of removing the outer skins. I wanted to celebrate the arrival of fresh greens that embody spring with the comfort of hearty potatoes. I’d recently discovered Tofurky in my local bulk health food store, it’s smoky ham-like flavour demanded the addition of apples which paired perfectly with slices of potato and eschlot. It’s funny how when you start to create a recipe, starting with a hero ingredient, other pieces of the flavour puzzle quickly come together.
I’ve got to admit that I usually buy my vegan cashew cheese, as I’m usually too busy to make it. If you’re interested in the brand I use, it’s Cashew Cheese from www.peaceloveandvegetables.com in Byron Bay, Australia. The vegan Tofurky, smoked ham style comes in deli slices, contains wheat and soy, and is made in USA. If you can't buy Tofurky, any vegan meat substitute would be suitable in the flavour you fancy. I use the mandoline to cut the potatoes, apple and asparagus. Since I use fresh baby fava beans, I didn’t blanch them and used beans fresh from the pods that were quite delicious and a fresh spring green in colour. Take care in measuring the butter, if you use too much the pastry will be crumbly. I only use 1 tablespoon of chilled water when making the dough, yet the amount would differ depending on the flour you use.
· Potatoes are one of the most common and important food sources on the planet, and they contain a wealth of health benefits that make them all the more essential as a staple dietary item for much of the world’s population. Potatoes are low calorie, with a medium-sized baked potato containing only about 110 calories.
· Potatoes are potassium rich, and they have even more potassium than a banana, and a lot of it is found in the potato's skin.
· The B6 vitamins in potatoes are critical to maintaining neurological health. This means that eating potatoes may help with depression, stress and even perhaps attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
· Potatoes' high level of carbohydrates may have some advantages, including helping maintain good levels of glucose in the blood, which is necessary to proper brain functioning.
· Vitamin C can help prevent everything from scurvy to the common cold, and potatoes are full of this nutrient, with about 45 percent of the daily recommended intake per medium baked potato
· Potatoes are fat free, yet also starchy carbohydrates with little protein. The carbs in potatoes are the kind that the body digests rapidly and have a high glycemic load, so they cause blood sugar and insulin to surge and then dip. This effect can make people feel hungry again soon after eating, which may lead to overeating. Potatoes should take the place of a grain on the plate. Use it as a carb rather than as your only vegetable.
Makes a 25cm galette
V, SF, DF, GF option
For the cashew cheese:
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 8 hours or overnight
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon water
For the filling:
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
2 slices vegan Tofurky, smoked ham style
½ apple, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ eschalot, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, halved lengthways, blanched, refreshed in chilled water
¼ cup fava beans, podded, blanched, skins off
2 tablespoons fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons cashew cheese (see above)
salt and black pepper
For the crust:
1½ cups spelt flour OR GF option - 1½ cup rice flour
1/3 cup unsalted vegan butter
1-2 tablespoons chilled water
After soaking the cashews at least 8 hours, drain and blend them with the other ingredients at high speed until the consistency is smooth and creamy. If too thick, add another teaspoon of water. Pour mixture into a round mould and place in the freezer for 30 minutes until set.
To make the crust, add flour and salt to a bowl and stir. Using a knife, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly. Alternatively, rub the butter through the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add a little chilled water and bring mixture together to form a ball of dough with your fingers. Add only enough chilled water until the mixture comes together. Wrap the dough with baking paper, and place in the fridge to chill for ½ hour.
Preheat the oven to 210’C (425’F/Gas mark 6). Remove the dough ball from fridge and place between two pieces of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a disk that’s about 3 mm thick and about 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter. If you used a little too much water when making the dough, you may need to dust the lower layer of baking paper with flour. Take the top layer of baking paper off the disk, and slip the lower layer of baking paper with the dough disk onto a baking sheet. Place layers of potato, apple, minced garlic, eschalot, Tofurky into the centre of the dough disk, leaving 5-6 cm (2 inch) border around the mixture. Gently fold the dough edges over the vegetable mixture. Using a pastry brush, brush the crust with a little water and the potato mixture with olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven, add salt and pepper, and top with asparagus, fava beans and thyme sprigs and small dollops of cashew cheese. Serve warm, cut into triangles.