Yes, that rubbery off-color block can actually be tasty! Who knew?! Well, perhaps you knew, but I didn’t until recently. My knowledge of tofu was pretty much limited to dishes I didn’t like (what the heck is that bland, squishy thing in there?), or questionably healthy ones I did (ooh, deep-fried tofu in Thai food). Only when I became bored with seemingly endless cycles of fish, chicken, and turkey did I try my hand at tofu.
My first outings were, well, a success to my partner (he enjoyed them) but more of the same for me (I didn’t). A bit of experimenting later and I stumbled upon a preparation I liked. It’s a bit tedious, but it’s ultra-simple too. And healthy. I bake the hell out of tofu (~40-60 minutes as I’m not a “spongy” fan), but you don’t have to. Think of this recipe as a jumping off point if you don’t really like tofu, or another preparation idea if you do.
Recipe numero ventisette:
SESAME LEMON TOFU (makes ~4 servings)
Ingredients: 2 packages extra firm tofu, ~2-3 tablespoons roasted sesame oil, ~2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 lemon, ~2 tablespoons (Trader Joe’s) 21 season salute (tip: substitute your favorite sodium free multi-spice)
Preparation: Open and drain tofu. Wrap blocks in paper towels and then in 1-2 dish towels. Press for ~30 minutes (I use a large BOOS cutting board) to remove excess liquid. Unwrap tofu (discard paper towels and hang dish towels to dry then launder). While holding, stand each block on its side and slice in half (tip: a long, sharp knife works best). Keeping both halves together, lay block down and slice width-wise into five equal parts.
Separate and place tofu strips into preferred container (I use a long, flat tupperware container). Squeeze juice of 1 lemon, then balsamic vinegar, over strips making sure to coat/hit all strips. Add roasted sesame oil then 21 season salute (or preferred multi-spice). Agitate/mix with the goal of not breaking the strips. Seal container and marinate overnight (or at least 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (I chose convection bake). Spray a low-edged baking sheet/tray and align strips as pictured. Coat strips with any remaining marinade. Bake, turning at 15-20 minute intervals, until desired doneness is reached. (Note: the strips will brown/darken well before they are done to my taste. Remove a strip and cut into it to determine if they are done to your taste)