Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish; 4 to 5 as a first course
10 minutes prep, 12 minutes cooking, 22 minutes total

This recipe's inspiration was Chinese chef Susanna Food of Philadelphia. When we interviewed Susanna, we were struck by her lack of rigid culinary rules. She interprets the traditional Chinese palate with modern Western ingredients, boldly mixing balsamic vinegar with soy sauce, or rosemary with dried yellow soybeans. Surprises fill her books. For instance, did you know that fresh corn is used often in the northern regions of China?

(Photo: Mette Nielsen)

Cook to Cook: While frozen corn works here, fresh is best. In addition to plain, you can find both smoked tofu and tofu labeled "savory flavored."

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth (preferably Cheater's Homemade Broth)
  • Good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • One 6- to 8-ounce block of "smoked" or "savory flavored" tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh-cut corn kernels; or one 9-ounce box frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 1 cup cooked shelled edamame or cooked lima beans (both available frozen)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 3 whole scallions, diced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

1. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, and broth together in a small bowl.

2. Lightly film the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, tofu, and soy sauce mixture. Sauté for about 3 minutes more. Be careful not to fully reduce the cooking liquid. If you run out, simply add a bit more broth to the pan to keep things moist.

3. Turn the heat to low and stir in the corn, edamame, tomatoes, and scallions. Sauté, stirring gently, for 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for a few more moments, until there is a slight golden glaze in the bottom of the skillet and the flavors are rich and concentrated.

4. Season to taste with red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Serve in a shallow bowl. 

This is good warm and cool and keeps in the refrigerator for a day or two.

From The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, Clarkson Potter, 2008.