I invented what I thought would be a pretty disgusting dish on my walk home from the lab today. Searching desperately for something interesting to do with tofu I thought I'd try treating it like a slab of meat.. yah, I know, that's not exactly "original", but I thought I'd see how much I could make a plain
slice of firm tofu seem like meat without, obviously, having the tofu itself taste like meat (we all know that's wishful thinking without some serious chemicals). So, texture was where I was going to win this fight, I figured.. I had to fry it. Okay, fried tofu steak. Almost almost sounds exciting, if you'd never heard of tofu. Well, after some liquid smoke, homemade aple cider vinagrette, salt, and pepper, it actually turned out not half bad. I actually thought it had a 50/50 chance, but given my luck I secretly figured it would quickly devolve into a pile of mush.
I made a sort of hodgepodge oil/vinager dressing with basil, sugar, white and black pepper, tyme, and chopped parsley. The base was canola oil and apple cider vinager with a bit of olive oil to send it over the top.
I threw in carrot and mashed potatoe side dishes to keep it interesting. Don't want anyone falling asleep in their tofu steak, now do we?
I marinated the "tenderized" tofu steaks in the vinagrette while I sauteed finely chopped onions and garlic. Then I added the tofu to the frying pan, brushing lightly with liquid smoke for an, umm, "mystery meat" type flavour, thowing in some diced green pepper and thin onion strips at the end for some crunch. Then I lightly fried some tomatoes as a topper. I garnished heavily with steamed green beans. Because I can never say "stop" when you could just as easily say "More!" I drizzled the whole of it with some of the leftover vinagrette.
It wasn't overly oily at all, which was my first worry. I think if I ever saw the amounts of oil and butter that real cooks use I'd probably keel over with a heart attack on the spot. I sliced the tofu thin enough and fried it long enough that it really sort of chunked up
the texture. It still wasn't meat but it was good. The tomatoe turned out to be the perfect choice to really zap the taste buds back and forth between it's tart fruityness and the rawish goodness of the greenbeans, peppers, and onion stripes. The garlic and onion that went in the pan first was carmelizing by the time I was done and I used that as the bed for the dish, and the sweetness really complimented the tangy apple cider vinager.
The cinammon carrots were good too. Some basil, some butter, a little tiny bit of light brown sugar, and cinammon, and finally some salt and pepper to taste.
The poor mashed potatoes were just normal old mashed potatoes and so got cut from the photo shoot. They shed a tear in the changing room and quickly ran home to lose 10lbs.
Photos courtesy of my roommate Mike. (Hi, I'm Mike. This is my roommate Mike and this is my other roommate Mike.. just joking, there are only two of us)