Summer Fried Tofu with Roasted Vegetables
Some people may run at the mere mention of tofu. It’s gelatinous texture, it’s lack of flavor can easily ruin a dish. I don’t eat tofu often, and when I do, I like to add it to dishes to increase their nutritional content without taking away from their flavor (Feisty Green Beans is a great example of this). This dish is a rarity; it forces tofu into the spotlight. Why would I do something so daring? I had half a package of tofu left over from making Feisty Green Beans and didn’t want it to go to waste. Simple.
The key to making tofu work on its own is not to leave it alone. Tofu has no flavor; you must add flavor. Imagine the possibilities! Another key is to prepare the tofu properly to avoid a potentially off-putting texture. For a dish like this, ideally, you want to use extra-firm tofu and press it for 15-30 minutes. This does a couple of things. Most importantly, it removes the flavorless moisture so that the flavorful moisture can be absorbed. And secondly, it helps the tofu’s outside become crispy when frying.
Another thing to remember when forcing tofu into the spotlight is that you must love your marinade. This is the only flavor you will taste, so make sure it is perfect.
- 16 oz firm tofu
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Drain the tofu, wrap it in a towel, and set something heavy (like a bag of beans) on it. Press the tofu for about 15 minutes. Then slice the tofu into 8 slabs.
- Mix 4 tablespoons of the olive oil with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the marinade over the tofu and let sit for about 40 minutes.
- Heat a cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and then add the tofu. Let cook for about 5 minutes then flip to the other side. The tofu should be nicely browned.
- Be sure to wear an apron when frying tofu like this. Tofu likes to spit oil, oftentimes onto your shirt.
- 4 small red potatoes, scrubbed, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1/4 medium onion, sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1-2 summer squash, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- about 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the potatoes, onion, garlic, sage, butter, salt and pepper to a casserole dish. Stir well so that the butter and spices are evenly dispersed on the potatoes.
- Place dish, uncovered, in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Add the summer squash to the potatoes. Stir well, then bake for another 15 minutes.
- When the veggies are done, remove from the oven and stir in the fresh cilantro. Enjoy!