Jen Clark photo
1 baguette or ciabatta bun, sliced into even pieces of a little less than 1cm thickness
1 tbsp melted Earth Balance
1 tbsp olive oil
Handful fresh parsley, chopped, or, in a pinch, use 1 tbsp dried
Combine margarine, oil, and parsley. Let cool in the fridge for a few minutes until it’s spreadable. Spread on both sides of each piece of bread and fry at medium heat until golden on both sides.
Caramelized Pear and Fig
I managed to find fresh figs for this part but you could nix the figs entirely, or even use dried ones, if you like.
1 pear – use a ripe but not overripe pear, or up the cooking time for an unripe pear
1 tbsp Earth Balance
1 tbsp sweetener – agave nectar or maple syrup or sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt, if you like
Slice the pear to remove the flesh from the core, and then slice each side into long, thin pieces. You want the pieces to be uniformly in thickness, maybe about 1/4 cm, but you can modify this by using thicker pieces.
Do the same with the fig. It’ll come apart due to the hollow seeded centre. That’s okay.
In a small skillet at medium-low heat, melt the margarine, then add the vinegar, sweetener, and fruit. Toss to coat. Stir often to ensure that the fruit is evenly cooked for about ten minutes, or longer if you’ve cut thicker pieces.
Toast 1/3 cup slivered almonds. I put these in my toaster oven, but you could also do them in a dry skillet on the stove. Use low heat and pay attention! They burn easily once the oils in the nut have heated up. In the absence of almonds, any other nut or seed will do.
Grate smoked tofu as if it’s cheese. We purchase smoked tofu already prepared. In the event that you cannot find smoked tofu, you may also use any cheese analog; my original plan was to use smoked cheddar flavoured Sheese. The light smoke flavour is delightful in this hors d’oeuvre. I had also thought about using flash-fried sliced mushrooms (brown or shiitake), if that strikes your fancy.
Building your Hors d’Oeuvre
For each stack:
1 golden crostini
A small bed of baby arugula
A bed of grated smoked tofu
Two pieces caramelized fruit
A scattering of lightly toasted slivered almonds