Sunday, August 28, 2005

Tempting, Tasty Tofu

Last night I tried something different and made a vegetarian meal for supper - Thai Red Curry Risotto, Asian Broccoli Slaw, and Peanut-encrusted Tofu "Faux Gras." I knew I wanted to make a leg of lamb today, and our protein options were otherwise limited. We had steamed crabs yet again on Friday (yummy!) so I didn't want to make seafood. Then I remembered the box of tofu that was hanging around in the fridge for a while. The sell-by date said September 30th, so I knew it was still safe. But what to do with it?

In the meantime, I got this risotto idea. I wanted to make something Asian-influenced for my starch-needing husband, and went hunting through my collection of foodstuffs. I found half a box of arborio rice in the pantry, a jar of red curry paste in the fridge, and an ample stash of Kaffir lime leaves in the freezer. Since I had landed in Thailand, I decided that the thing to do with the tofu would be to marinate it and then give it a roll in crushed peanuts. The slaw, bagged broccoli slaw simply dressed with rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and sugar, would make a refreshing and crunchy side dish.

Peanut-Encrusted Tofu "Faux Gras"

1 tablespoon peanut butter (I used Jif)
2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
2 tablespoons unflavored dry bread crumbs

1 box extra firm fresh tofu (not the aseptically packaged stuff)
oil for frying

Slice tofu into approximately 3/4" pieces; fit in one layer in shallow pan. Mix marinade ingredients (you may need to put in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the peanut butter and make the honey liquidy) and pour over tofu. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; more is better.

When ready to cook, mix crushed peanuts and bread crumbs on a plate. Remove tofu slices from marinade and gently coat each with crumb mixture.

Heat a large skillet and add approximately 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. When the oil is very hot, add the tofu in one layer and put a lid on the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until browned, then gently flip and brown the other side. Don't worry if the peanuts get black - it doesn't taste burnt.

I squeezed a bit of Hoisin sauce over the tofu once it was plated, but that wasn't even necessary. The tofu was very flavorful and had a tender, curdy, texture very much like properly cooked foie gras.

The risotto recipe was a bit complicated. I'll post it if I make it again.

No comments: