Monday, December 10, 2012

Fried Tofu


We eat a lot of tofu in this house. I'm a big fan of the stuff, cooked or uncooked, and I love the texture that frying imparts to tofu.

But I have an aversion to deep-frying, for a few reasons:
  1. Deep-frying is scary. Hot oil can burn skin pretty easily, and it can splatter and splutter everywhere, making a mess.
  2. It's expensive. We try to cook with good oils, and it feels wasteful to use quarts of oil to cook one dish. 
  3. If the temperature's not right, your food can get greasy. Who wants that?
So we panfry. Panfrying also gives the tofu a nicely chewy exterior, and it uses much less oil than deep-frying does. It can still splutter, especially if the tofu goes into the pan wet, but it's not too bad.

Fried Tofu
1 tablespoon sunflower or safflower oil
1 block extra-firm tofu, chopped however you want it in your finished dish

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu to the pan in a single layer and cook, without stirring, for a few minutes, until the underside turns golden brown. Stir with a heatproof spatula and cook some  more, stirring occasionally, until the cubes are mostly browned on all sides. This can take about 10 minutes. Sometimes a side or two of the tofu doesn't get browned, but it's not really a big deal.

Serve with any sauce, or add to a dish like a stir-fry or stew.

Oven-Roasted Broccoli


We watched an old episode of Good Eats the other day. The show focused on broccoli, one of my favorite vegetables.

Broccoli season has arrived in Austin, and I got a huge two-pound crown from Harvest Time Farm Stand at the farmers market on Saturday morning.

Alton Brown's recipe for  Oven Roasted Broccoli looked wonderful. I roast broccoli a lot at home, and we usually eat it dressed with just olive oil, salt, and chili flakes. This recipe has toasted bread crumbs and cheese, making it heartier and good for the cold snap that just came in.

I made the recipe with a few modifications. There was no panko in our pantry, so I made fresh bread crumbs in the food processor and toasted them in the oven. I also added lemon zest and juice to the finished recipe. Then each bowl got topped with a fried egg and a few roasted tomatoes.

It turned out really well. The broccoli was still a bit crunchy, and the bread crumbs and cheese gave it a deep nutty flavor. The original recipe calls for either Cheddar or Parmesan. I used Cheddar, but I think I'll try Parmesan next time. The Cheddar, while delicious, didn't get distributed evenly in the broccoli, gathering in chunks. Don't get me wrong; the clumps were salty, crunchy, and delicious. But I think the Parmesan may coat the broccoli more evenly.