Grilled sweetcorn, tofu, porcini, miso and arame casserole

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

This casserole is a particular favourite in autumn, when the sweetcorn is still sweet and juicy and the weather a little cooler, and it is great served with steamed rice or rice noodles. As you can see, I like to serve the corn in chunks, so you’ll have to use your hands to eat it. However, if you’d prefer, you could grill the corn, then shave off the kernels. Less fun, but just as tasty.

Ingredients

  • 500 g firm tofu (I use Japanese tofu from a Tetra Pak, which works well)
  • small handful of dried arame seaweed (dried hijiki would work just as well)
  • 20 g dried porcini mushrooms (or any other dried wild mushroom)
  • 300 ml boiling water
  • 2 sweetcorn cobs, husks removed
  • 40 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons shiro miso (white miso)
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 400 ml warm water
  • 2 spring onions, sliced

Method

Cut the tofu into 12 even-sized pieces and lay them on a triple thickness of absorbent kitchen paper. Lay 3 layers of kitchen paper on top and gently press down to draw out excess moisture, then leave to sit while you cook the corn.

Put the arame and porcini in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water.

Heat a dry deepish, wide non-stick pan that has a tight-fitting lid. Brush the corn cobs with 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil. When the pan is good and hot, add the corn. Cook over a moderate-to-high heat, with the lid on, to colour the kernels golden all over, shaking the pan often to colour them evenly. The more they’re caramelized, the more flavour they’ll develop – but don’t let them blacken.

Once the corn is cooked, take it out of the pan and rinse the pan out with some hot water – it will splutter a bit, as it will be fairly hot, so stand back. Put the pan back on the stove and heat it up again. Add the remaining vegetable oil followed, by the sesame oil. Place the tofu in the pan and cook it until golden on both sides – this will take about 2–3 minutes on each side.

While the tofu is cooking, whisk the miso with the mirin and the 400ml warm water. Once the tofu is cooked, pour the miso mixture into the pan together with the arame, porcini and their soaking water, and bring to the boil.

Cut each corn cob into 6 pieces (it can be hard to cut through the core, so use a large knife) and add these to the pan. Cover and cook at a rapid simmer for 12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a little soy sauce or salt, if necessary, and serve while hot, sprinkled with the sliced spring onions.