Blackened Tofu with Creole Sauce
I’ve never been good and keeping my posts in tune with food holidays, I mean, Cinco de Mayo AND Derby Day are tomorrow and I’ve got zilch for you. However, I’m totally craving
- these Fried Cactus Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce
- Brandi’s Triple Citrus Margaritas (olé)
- this amazing looking Strawberry-Infused Mint Julep
- a somehow veganized version of the Derby-Cinco mash-up Tex-Mex Hot Brown Sandwich
- and a glass (or five) of some simple Horchata (which I’ve yet to make–what on earth is wrong with me?!)
Since I can’t have any of the above right now, I’ll have to settle for some kick-ass Cajun food which, trust me, is a-ok by me. Ever since I found out that the Roanoke Co-op is finally carrying Twin Oaks tofu, I’ve been wanting to make it every which-way. It’s not that I don’t like tofu (oh I do), but more that Twin Oaks is just so good that you want to cook it up. Made in a worker-owned cooperative in Louisa, Virginia, Twin Oaks tofu is dense and rich and has a little something special about it. While I can’t get the herbed tofu here in Roanoke, I’m plenty happy to nosh on the basic one–from stir frys to cutlets, it’s my go-to extra firm tofu. Love it. If you’re close to Virginia, you’ve got to try it!
So, armed with a block, I decided to whip up some blackened tofu, but what to pair with it? Some random Googling led me to this Creole Sauce on Food Network’s site–a mix of tomatoes and peppers and onion that sounded too simple to be so good–but so promising sounding. Simple ingredients often make the richest dishes, and the creole sauce is a perfect example (even though the original recipe made far too much sauce for G & I to ever eat). As far as the blackened tofu, it was simple and spicy and perfect for the awesome Twin Oaks ‘fu. Served with some quinoa and sauteed spinach, the whole dish was awash with flavors that bounced off my palate: rich, spicy, bitter, a little bit of acid–the perfect plate in my mind.
Happy weekend all and I hope everyone has fun with whatever they’re up to. Now, is it margarita time yet?
Blackened Tofu with Creole Sauce
for the Creole Sauce
adapted from Emeril Lagasse:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 c onions, chopped
1/4 c celery, chopped
1/4 c green bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp Creole Seasoning (I use Penzeys Cajun Style Seasoning)
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 c vegetable broth
3 tbsp Earth Balance
Salt & pepper
For the Blackened Tofu:
1 tbsp smokey hot paprika
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion powder
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 package extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ thick slices (cutlets)
1/4 c Bragg’s Amino Acids
2 tsp corn starch
To make the sauce, add the oil to a sauce pan and warm over medium. When the oil is hot, add the onions, celery, and green peppers. Saute the vegetables for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables start to wilt.
Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, herbs, and Creole seasoning. Continue to saute for 1 minute.
Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and vegetable broth.
Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Once it has thickened as much as you like, stir in the Earth Balance to give it a glossy sheen.
Meanwhile, while the sauce is simmering, combine all of the tofu spices in a large bottomed bowl. In a pie dish (or another large bottomed bowl), mix the Bragg’s and the cornstarch until the cornstarch is fully dredged.
Swirl a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet and warm the oil over medium-high heat on the stove. Soak the tofu in the Bragg’s mixture and then dredge both sides in the spice mixture.
Fry each side two to three minutes, until blackened. Remove from heat and repeat with each slice of tofu, adding more oil to the pan as necessary (I was able to do two-three pieces of tofu at a time). If you’re like me, you’ll make a lot of smoke, so open up the windows to air out the kitchen.
Enjoy the ‘fu with some quinoa, sauteed greens, and a ton of that hearty Creole sauce. Best savored with a cold brew.