Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Marinated, Grilled Tempeh Steak & Green Salad

I won't try to convince you that there is anything that can really take the place of a deliciously juicy piece of beef. Even (or perhaps especially) if you are a staunch vegetarian who would never think of tasting any, I'm sure you would agree that it is singular and unique, and without substitute. But just for funsies, I keep on trying to find one in an ongoing effort to alleviate my meat-eating guilt.

I've had only one previous adventure in cooking with tempeh, but I was pleasantly surprised by its firm, meaty texture and slightly nutty flavor, and I still think it's among the best non-meat burrito fillings out there. Though I realize nothing can replicate the juicy grilled flavor of a rare steak, I nonetheless got the urge to soak it in Worcestershire sauce and grill it to see how far I could take the whole "fake meat" thing.
 I made mine with soy tempeh, but I don't see a reason why you couldn't use the multi-grain type. They say that one 8 oz. package is about two servings, which seemed about right to me.

Marinaded tempeh:
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp Soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp cider, apple or white wine viengar
1/4 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 8 oz. package unseasoned soy tempeh

1. 2-24 hours before mealtime, whisk together all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish or container. Cut tempeh in half, into two almost-square rectangles, and place in marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to start cooking, flipping one time near the middle of the marinading period.
4. Grease or spray and heat a grill pan, George Foreman Grill or regular grill. (I used a grill pan over medium heat). Grill for about 4-5 minutes each side, or until it gets nice dark grill marks. (I didn't do a great job of this, but I did get the crispy, salty-sweet bits of caramelized Worcestershire sauce, so all was not lost.)
 I've only just realized that in some places - I assume places with real grocery stores that don't tempt any halfway motivated cook to take up drinking wine in bed rather than continue to be disappointed in her shopping efforts - one can buy pre-seasoned tempeh. In concept I think this is great, since it soaks up flavors so well and lacks much flavor of its own when "untreated." I can't recommend them per se, but if anybody has adventures with seasoned tempeh, I want to hear about it!

I had initially planned to serve my tempeh with a green salad and some honey-glazed sauteed sweet potatoes, but when I cut into my monster of a sweet potato (which I bought only two days ago, by the way) I discovered that something small and gross had already started eating it. Imagine my chagrin. I was heavily chagrinned. I'm still a bit chagrinned about it, to be honest. Bleh. So instead, I had my tempeh on a Balsamic-dressed salad of arugula, green lettuce, cherry tomatoes, onion, Feta cheese and pine nuts, which I certainly cannot complain about. I added Feta on a whim but without it this is a yummy vegan meal.

I'm not sure I'm a great lover of tempeh, but it surely seems to have its place, if only in vegetarian burritos. Try it - it couldn't be easier!

1 comment:

  1. I am going to do something with tempeh one of these days.