Friday, August 2, 2013

Sweet-Spicy Brussels Spouts & Tofu

Sweet-Spicy Brussels Spouts & Tofu recipe

Brussels sprouts. Do they make you smile or frown? For those who give them a bad rap, I think those poor souls just haven't had Brussels sprouts prepared properly. Roasting them, or pan charring them in this instance, and then mixing them with a sweet sauce is what  really makes this vegetable shine. And this dish, described as addictive by Mr SSS last night - he who until recently was one of those aforementioned poor souls - does just that.

Backing up, yesterday afternoon my head was void of ideas as to what to grab at the market as I had no plans for dinner. After giving a quick look at some recipes, I came across this one and had an inkling it would be a winner. 

Here's how it goes... Loads of Brussels sprouts are cut into thirds and pan cooked until charred but still crisp. 

More vegetables are added, each with a purpose: shiitake mushrooms gives the dish more heft, green onions add more flavor and a red chili pepper lends some heat. 

A savory-sweet marinade of sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and maple syrup serves as a marinade for tofu {and as a sauce to finish the dish}.

When I threw all of these ingredients back in the pan with some cilantro and gave it a taste, a thought bubble came out of my head that said triumph! Expectations surpassed. The only improvement {and really none was necessary} was finishing with a drizzle of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds as suggested.

Serve with a side of brown rice or quinoa and you are set.

Sweet-Spicy Brussels Spouts & Tofu

2 T sweet chili sauce
1 T + 1/2 T soy sauce
3 T sesame oil, divided
1 t rice vinegar
1 T maple syrup
5 oz extra firm tofu
1 lb Brussels sprouts
5 - 6 T grapeseed oil {as needed for cooking}
1 c sliced green onions
1 small fresh red chili pepper, diced
1 c + 1/2 c shiitake mushrooms, each cut into quarters or eights
1 c cilantro leaves
1 T toasted sesame seeds

In a bowl, whisk together chile sauce, soy sauce, 2 T sesame oil, vinegar and maple syrup. Cut tofu into 3/8" thick slices and then 2" squares. Place tofu in a nonreactive dish and pour marinade on top. Set aside.

Cut bases off each Brussels sprout and then cut each into three thick slices. In a large, non-stick pan add 2 T grapeseed oil and heat over medium-high. Add 1/2 of the sprouts and some salt and let cook for a minute to 90 seconds without stirring. Once you get some char marks, stir and turn sprouts over. Cook another minute to 90 seconds to get some more char marks and transfer to a large bowl. If some of the little single leaves have turned dark brown and crispy - that is a good thing. Add 2 T of grapeseed oil to the pan, repeat cooking remaining sprouts with a little salt and transfer to the bowl.

Add 2 T of grapeseed oil to the pan and saute green onions, chili pepper and mushrooms over medium-high for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to the bowl.

Place the pan back on the burner and gently transfer the tofu to the pan in a single layer using tongs. Set aside marinade and cook the tofu for 2 minutes on each side - you should have a nice golden crust.

Remove pan from heat and add back the vegetables, marinade and half the cilantro to the tofu. Toss everything together and allow to cool slightly. Taste and add more salt if you'd like. Drizzle with remaining sesame oil and sprinkle remaining cilantro and sesame seeds on top. Serve warm, vs. piping hot.

Serves 4 {unless you are us - we polished off 3/4 of this is one sitting}

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Source: Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi

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