Following a week of unexpected indulgence that included an impromptu splurge at the brand new vegan spot from the Horizons folks, Vedge, and a last minute invitation to The Farm and the Fisherman‘s Pork and Beer dinner featuring pork from Wyebrook Farm and Lew Bryson to navigate pairings from Spring House Brewing in Lancaster, PA I needed a major cleanse meal. Thankfully, somewhere between the vegan cocktails and shots of 41% ABV beers (needless to say I am referring to Brewdog’s unforgettable Sink the Bismark) I found time to get my hands on this beautiful stalk of brussels sprouts from Culton Organics:
With this bad boy on hand, there was definitely a cleanse meal in the cards. With their powerful anticancer properties (thanks to high levels of glucosinolates and sulforaphane), brussels sprouts provide unparalleled support to the body’s detox system. Plus they are full of antioxidants AND can help lower your cholesterol! Now that’s what I call a power vegetable.
Need even more convincing that brussels sprouts might be the best veg ever? Those leaves up top? Delicious raw or stewed. The stalk? Matchstick it up and saute with some olive oil. Side dish of champions. This is a true snout-to-tail-type of plant – my favorite.
What really pulled this meal together, though, was a 1/4 pound stem of ethereal gray oyster mushrooms just begging for attention in my refrigerator. Not wanting to do anything to compromise the delicate, pillowy cream-colored flesh of the mushrooms, or, for that matter, the nutritional content of the brussels sprouts I opted for a raw salad.
The phrase “raw brussels sprouts” likely elicits a sneer from most folks. But what most folks don’t realize is that it’s cooking your brussels sprouts that puts you at risk of releasing those danky sulfuric compounds that have so wrongly criminalized this lovely little brassica. When sliced thinly and marinated, the raw brussels is a refreshing treat.
Inspired by a great little blog called Warm Kitchenette, I realized that scallops would be a great pairing for a light raw brussels sprout and mushroom salad. In the minutes following, I then realized that Ippolitos had just closed. Scallops were quite clearly not an option. So I got creative. “Tofallops” it was. And you know what? You ALMOST couldn’t tell the difference.
Dijon Maple-Seared Tofallops Over Raw Marinated Brussels Sprout and Oyster Mushroom Salad
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, Serves 2
- 1/2 block of firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 tbs dijon mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 pint brussels sprouts (I used about 1/3 from the whole stalk)
- 1/2 pound (roughly) oyster mushrooms
- slivered almonds
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
- 1 tbs olive oil
- With a paring knife, cut scallop-sized circles out of your tofu block. Arrange “tofallops” on a towel and press firmly on all sides repeatedly until all the surfaces of each one are dry to the touch (this helps them sear!). Leave them on a towel to continue to dry while you prepare salad.
- Mix marinade of juice from 1/2 lemon, honey, olive oil, and S&P to taste.
- Preferably with a mandoline (you can use a very sharp knife, but with small handheld mandolines available for under $15, like this one from OXO, I suggest you invest!) slice the brussels sprouts thinly and rinse clean.
- Shave mushrooms very thin with sharp knife.
- Toss brussels and mushrooms with marinade and let sit.
- Using a spatula or spoon, coat the top sides of each “tofallop” with dijon mustard.
- Heat a saute pan over med/high flame. Coat generously with nonstick spray. Add 1 tsp maple syrup.
- Once hot, place “tofallops” dijon side down in the pan. Let sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes, or until you can smell the syrup caramelizing and the dijon becoming fragrant. Quickly coat the other side of the “tofallops” with dijon, and then gently flip to the other side. Allow to sear for another 4-5 minutes or so.
- While the “tofallops” are searing, add a handful or two of slivered almonds to the brussels and mushroom and toss. Distribute salad between two plates.
- Once “tofallops” are nice and lightly brown on both sides, place on top of your plated salad. Voila! Dinner is served.