Monday, September 6, 2010

Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Roasted Fig and Shallot Compote

I was recently at a restaurant and I ordered some cornmeal crusted tofu.  Now, I guess I never would have thought to crust tofu with cornmeal, but why not?  Maybe it was going to be similar to cornmeal crusted I was optomistic about it and excited about trying it!  When it came however, the sauces that accompanied it were delicious, but there were far too many of them...about 4 different kinds, and the tofu itself was far outshined.  It was flavorless, and was almost like it had been baked, without any oil at all being that it was rather anemic looking.  So...I decided that I needed to come up with a delicious cornmeal crusted tofu of my own, where the tofu tasted good, was crispy and browned, and had a single delicious sauce that would compliment it.  What I came up with was a method that is the same as the way I prepare cornmeal crusted fish! Dipping it in egg, then a crunchy cornmeal coating then frying it up on the stove.  Now, mind you if you wanted this to be a bit more healthy, you could spray the tofu with a good coating of olive oil spray and bake it with the same affect, but it is not as rich this way. Once I had the tofu figured out, I wanted a sauce to compliment it, and what I decided on was a fig and shallot compote.  I roasted the figs and shallots until they were all soft and carmelized, then pureed them with some sweet and tangy elements that all made for a flavorful sauce.  It was a delicious accompaniment to the crispy tofu, and one did not overpower the other.  I served this with some simple roasted green beans.  I was very pleased with the dish as a whole, and the way it came together.   It was much more satisfying than the other cornmeal crusted tofu I had recently come across.  It was perfectly crisp on the outside, nicely browned, and I would have much rather eaten this than any cornmeal crusted catfish!  The compote was wonderful as well!  Sweet but tangy, and almost caramelly undertones!  If you would like a new way to prepare tofu, this is it, unusual, but sure is good!

Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Roasted Fig and Shallot Compote
Serves 2

10 figs, halved
5 small shallots, halved
olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp orange juice
sea salt to taste

3 cups green and wax beans, trimmed
olive oil
sea salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbsp soy milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
freshly ground pepper
8 oz firm tofu, cut into 6 triangles
olive oil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees, line 2 baking sheets with foil, and spray with non-stick spray.   Toss figs and shallots with just enough olive oil to lightly coat, and spread out onto one of the baking sheets.  Roast until soft, about 15-20 minutes, then puree (along with any juices that may have accumulated on the pan) in a food processor with the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, and sea salt.  Add a little water if the mixture seems too thick.  It should be a saucy consistency, but not too runny. Meanwhile, toss green beans with olive oil, and spread out onto second baking sheet.  Roast in the oven until tender and starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt to taste when removed from the oven.  Meanwhile, in a medium dish, combine egg and soy milk.  In another dish, combine cornmeal, flour, sea salt, garlic powder, thyme, pepper.  Dip tofu in the egg, and let the excess run off, then place in the cornmeal, and toss to coat.  Set aside on a plate while you repeat with the remaining tofu.  In a large saucepan, pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and place over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add the tofu, and cook until lightly brown on the first side, about 3 minutes.  Then flip and repeat with the second side, about 2-3 minutes more.  If sides are not getting browned, you may need to flip onto the sides for them to get some color.  When tofu is done cooking, to serve, rewarm fig mixture.  Divide the tofu between 2 plates, as well as green beans. Spoon the fig compote over the tofu, or beside it and serve!

1 comment:

Pure Mama said...

Oh, this looks lovely! What a great idea... I too haven't ever thought of that :) Great job!