The Good News Lee Anne Wong plays with an array of Asian ingredients to create a wonderful marinade for extra-firm tofu or high-fiber tempeh (cakes made from fermented whole soy beans). Tempeh's nutty flavor and grainy texture make it an acquired taste, but Wong loves it here.
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1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons white miso paste
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1 tablespoon agave syrup (see Note)
2 teaspoons mirin
1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 4 blocks
Three 7-by-8-inch sheets of toasted nori (seaweed), cut into strips
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound medium asparagus
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 large scallion, thinly sliced
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium baking dish, whisk 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the miso and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the soy sauce with the tahini paste, agave syrup, mirin and Chinese five-spice powder until smooth. Add the tofu and turn to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine 1/4 cup of vegetable oil with the nori, water, honey, lemon juice, sambal oelek and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of miso paste and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Puree until smooth and season lightly with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the vinaigrette.
On a baking sheet, toss the asparagus with the sesame oil; season with salt, black pepper and the red pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, until tender and browned.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 1 minute. Let cool.
Light a grill and brush with vegetable oil. Remove the tofu from the marinade and grill over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and heated through, 6 minutes. Cut each block into 3 slices.
Spoon some of the nori vinaigrette onto plates. Top with the asparagus and tofu. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds, cilantro and scallion and serve.
Sweet agave syrup, made from the agave plant, is available at health-food stores and Whole Foods Market.
One Serving 361 cal, 25 gm fat, 3.2 gm sat fat, 19 gm carb, 5.6 gm fiber.
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