Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pan-fried Tempeh with Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Mashed Potatoes and Sunchokes, and Brussels Sprouts

I found a nifty little vegetable in the produce section of my favorite independent grocery store and decided to try an experiment for dinner the other night.  The sunchoke, or Jerusalem artichoke, is the tuber from a perennial sunflower that grows wild in woodlands and blooms at the end of the summer.  This is also the time of year that the tuber can be harvested, which is why it was in my grocer's refrigerated section. 

It looks kinda like a gnarled hand of ginger, which is also a tuber, but its taste is mild, like a slightly sweet potato, which is why I decided to try boiling and mashing it with a potato.  This was going to be my entire meal (yeah, that's how creative I am when it comes to cooking for myself), until I found a handful of Brussles sprouts in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten lest they turn to compost.  I decided to complete the meal with some pan-fried tempeh and top it all off with pumpkin seed pesto I had left from a demonstration I had done a couple days before.  Like magic, this meal came together perfectly.

Start by pan-frying the tempeh.  I like LightLife garden veggie tempeh best, which I cut into 8 thin rectangles.  I heated a little olive oil in a nonstick pan, then added the tempeh and a generous sprinkle of sea salt and fresh black pepper.  After a couple minutes of sizzling, I flipped the tempeh over and let it brown on the other side. 

While this was cooking, I mashed my cooked russet potato and sunchokes with about a tablespoon of Earth Balance margarine, some rice milk, and sea salt.  I always leave the skins on the potatoes for added fiber and texture, and since these were organic, I didn't have to worry about any pesticide residue. 

The meal looked lovely on the plate and tasted even better as all the flavors complemented each other nicely.


Anonymous said...

You pan-fried the tempeh. Did you steam it first? I know that when I bake the tempeh, I steam it first which can be time-consuming. If that step can be eliminated by pan-frying the tempeh, then that's the way I'll cook tempeh from now on.

Mary Lawrence said...

I don't know if it's the way you're "supposed" to cook tempeh, but yeah, I just cut it up into 8 slices, put some olive oil in a hot pan, and lay it right down. The texture is perfectly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, when it's done.