I recently purchased a package of tofu for a vegetarian meal on a catering job. I ended up with half a package leftover so I sliced it, pan seared it in a bit of olive oil and ate it for lunch. I'd forgotten how much I LOVE tofu. Low in carbs and fat, it's high in protein and iron which makes it ideal for vegetarians and vegans. It's the perfect canvas—having a bland taste, it absorb marinades well and can be tossed into soups or stews or deep fried and added to noodle dishes. I've even replaced the cheese on a fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, heirloom tomato sandwich with tofu! I came across this crusted and fried tofu recipe from an Israeli-born, London based chef named Yotam Ottolenghi (cookbook author, deli owner and restauranteur) and wanted to try it. I'm taking it to a girls' luncheon today as an appetizer. I think they are going to love it.
Crusted Fried Tofu
3/4 c panko crumbs, (Japanese bread crumbs)
grated zest of 1 lime
1 T coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 T sesame seeds, white or black or a combo is good
1 - 14 oz package of firm tofu, cut into 1" chunks
1/2 c flour
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 t water
1/2 t salt, more to taste
peanut or vegetable oil, for frying, about a 1/2 c
1 T cilantro leaves chopped for garnish
1 T honey
1 T lime juice
1 t sesame oil
1 t siracha chile sauce
2 t rice wine vinegar
pinch of chile flakes
2 T peanut oil, veggie or corn oil, not olive oil unless it is very mild
To make the dipping sauce, whisk together the honey, lime juice, sesame oil, sriracha, rice vinegar and a pinch of salt. Continue to whisk as you slowly pour in the peanut oil, until fully emulsified. Set aside.
Place the panko, lime zest, coriander seeds, sesame seeds and salt in a bowl and mix well. Toss the tofu in the flour, dip into the egg and then finally toss it in the breadcrumb mix until well coated. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add half the tofu pieces and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, turning so that all sides get golden brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the last of the tofu, adding a little more oil to the pan if necessary. Serve with the dipping sauce.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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