I grew up visiting the beaches of Westerly, Rhode Island—and on so many evenings, salty and sleepy, we'd drive over to Watch Hill for the sunset, the people-watching, and the ice cream cones. But we'd always stop for dinner at Fra's, an unassuming and extremely wonderful Italian deli. My order: the marinated green bean sandwich. When Fra's closed a few years back, I began craving the sandwich. This rendition is pretty close to what I remember (but for the full experience, you have to follow it with an ice cream cone). —Caroline Lange
cloves garlic, roughly chopped
red pepper flakes (to taste—but be generous)
freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons
red wine vinegar
focaccia rolls, halved (or 8 slices of focaccia; if you've made a pan of focaccia, slice 4 big squares and then cut each in half so you have 8 thin squares of focaccia)
Trim the green beans. In a large frying pan, sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, then add the green beans, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Sauté the beans until they are bright green and tender-crisp. They shouldn't squeak, but they should still be firm.
Toss the green beans with the red wine vinegar and set aside for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
When you're ready to eat, preheat the oven to about 350° F and arrange the slices of focaccia on baking sheet with the cut sides up. Arrange the slices of mozzarella on top of the bread and slide it all into the oven until the bread is warm and the cheese is beginning to melt.
Remove the warmed bread from the oven and make the sandwiches: Top a slice of the cheesy bread with a heap of green beans (as many as you can pack on) and top with the other slice of bread.