August 19, 2010

Toasted Barley, Green Bean, and Shiitake Salad with Tofu

This was a little time consuming, but it was well worth the effort. Try not to eat the marinated baked tofu before it makes it to the salad!

The following day I ate chilled leftovers for lunch and it was even better then the night before. It had a chance to soak up all the scrumptious sauce. It felt like I was eating an expensive salad from Whole Foods deli ;).

Complements: Cooking Light September 2010

1 (12 oz) package extra-firm organic tofu, drained and cut into 5 (1-inch-thick) slices (I just cut 3 slices (the long way of the tofu block)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 garlic clove, grated

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
5 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (I used what we harvested from our garden yesterday which included: peas, zucchini and only about 1/2 pound green beans)
10 ounce large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green onions (I just used one "bunch" of green onions)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced

To prepare tofu, place tofu slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Top with a cutting board; place a heavy skillet on top of cutting board. Let stand 45 minutes, pressing down occasionally. (This helps remove extra liquid) Cut each tofu slice into cubes (between 8-10 cubes per slice); arrange in a single layer in a shallow dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl. Pour sugar mixture over tofu in dish, and turn to coat. Let stand for 25 minutes. Arrange tofu in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Cool completely.

To prepare salad, heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add barley to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Add 5 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until barley is tender. Drain; cool completely. Place barley in a large bowl. Cook green beans in boiling water for about 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge green beans into ice water. Drain well; pat dry. Add beans to barley. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush tops of mushrooms with 2 teaspoons oil. Add mushrooms to pan, oiled side down. Cook 5 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cool slightly; slice mushrooms thinly. Add tofu, mushrooms and green onions to barley mixture. (I sauteed zucchini and added it with fresh peas to the barley too) Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons tamari, honey, grated ginger and minced garlic in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over barley mixture in bowl; stir well to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!
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