Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Onions and Snap Peas

The green market in Prospect Park this Saturday was the prettiest yet this season. I didn't have any ideas about what I wanted to get when I went, but I was on the look-out for some snap peas. The Council on the Environment for New York City (CENYC) provides a calendar of what types of veggies are in season in the city's over 45 greenmarkets (, and April is the month for snap peas. None to be found, sadly, so I had to get them on a later trip to Fairway.

I did pick up some fresh green onions and spinach, and then found some inspiration from a recipe from the January 2004 edition of Bon Appétit. We're trying to eat a few meals every week without any meat, so this is the first one for this week.

Stir-Fried Tofu with Snap Peas, Green Onions, and Spinach

3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup fresh snap peas
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup spring onion tops
2 scallions

Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Add the tofu cubes and stir to coat; marinate for one hour, or overnight if you can. Drain, reserving the marinade in a small bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup water and cornstarch into the marinade and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat until the pan is smoking. Add the tofu and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tofu to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat again. Add the ginger and garlic and stir continuously until browned. Add the snap peas and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until tender. Add the spinach and stir into the peas until it is wilted. Add the green onions, and return the tofu to the skillet. Drizzle the reserved marinade mixture over the whole thing and stir-fry until the sauce thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with scallions and serve over quinoa or brown rice.

Postscript:  Wow.  I brought this dish to lunch today, and it was even better a day later.  I am just stunned at how tasty the sauce was.  The dish was not expensive either: $1.89 for the tofu, about $3 for the snap peas, about $3 for the spinach, and I guess about $4 for the rest of the ingredients, portions of which I have in my kitchen already.  So maybe all told, a generous estimate of about $12 for the entire meal, and it made four servings.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

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