Ol' reliable: seared tempeh salad ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

12 November 2008

Ol' reliable: seared tempeh salad

We are finally really eating like ourselves again. I feel much better.

This is a salad with seared marinated tempeh. Flatly, it is my favorite way to eat tempeh. Yes, tempeh bacon is wonderful and makes excellent sandwiches. I like tempeh BLTs, but I really like my salad.

(Actually, it's our friend Ryan's salad.)

Ol' reliable

soy sauce
olive oil
white wine vinegar
hot sauce
salad greens
green onion

First, marinate the tempeh.

For marinade: get a big bowl and in it mix roughly equal amounts of soy sauce and olive oil. Add a slightly lesser amount of vinegar. I had white wine vinegar but red wine, rice wine, or apple cider should work fine. Then add hot sauce to taste. I only have a dinky little bottle of 79 cent hot sauce right now, so I used that instead of the usual sriracha. Crush and mince a couple cloves of garlic, then add them to the marinade. Whisk everything together with a fork.

I don't measure these, since their amounts depend pretty heavily on the amount of tempeh you have. Maybe start with 1/4 cup soy and oil and go from there. It's not that big a deal, honestly, since you can always add in more liquid. I definitely added more halfway through the marinating process, when it became clear that my tempeh had drunk up all the initial liquid like a raging alcoholic.

You can also add anything else you think might be good in a marinade. Fresh chopped ginger is an excellent idea. Ryan always added fresh rosemary, too, which is pretty great. You can't just walk up the street and pick rosemary off the neighbor's hedge in Brooklyn, though. Of course the north has its own distinct foraging opportunities.

Cut your tempeh into pieces maybe 1 inch square, put them into the marinade, and stir it up to get some liquid contact on each piece. I had some exciting new tempeh with flax seeds embedded in it, which was awesome. It's fine if the marinade doesn't cover all your tempeh; in fact, I think it's better, since you won't have to pour anything down the drain later. Just remember to stir things up every twenty minutes or so: that way the marinade can soak in on all sides.

I left my tempeh to marinate for about two hours, but less (or more) is ok. I think you'd be good all the way back to about 45 minutes.

When you're ready to cook, warm a saute pan big enough to fit your tempeh in one layer. Add some olive oil, tip in the tempeh, and sear, shaking and flipping fairly often, until the tempeh is lovely and brown and fragrant and the garlic has turned into chewy caramelized bits. I only had a tiny bit of marinade left, so I added it to the pan. If you have a lot left, you might want to strain and refrigerate it to reuse later.

While things are searing, wash and chop your salad vegetables. I used spinach and frisee for the greens, plus chopped baby carrots, mushrooms, and a tiny bit of green onion. I think this combination works well, especially when you combine sweet carrots with bitter inner leaves of frisee. Almost anything you want in a salad should be fine, though. Radishes, for instance: ++. If you want a particularly springy salad, do radishes, chopped snow peas, lots of sprouts and sunflower seeds. If you want a fally salad, roast some squash or beets and pumpkin seeds and add those. Whatever you have will work.

Arrange the salad business on plates, top with the finished tempeh, and eat.

I had red grapefruit juice.

One of the best things about a dinner like this is that when you eat as much as you want, you feel good.

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