Ok, so what I am about to tell you might sound counter-intuitive and time consuming but it is totally worth it. When I was in Burlington the week before last, Mark and I went to August First Bakery and I got a salad topped with the best tofu I’ve ever had… Soy Maple Ginger Tofu. This is my attempt to recreate that tofu for grilling and my own salads and sandwiches.
What I did first was press the tofu… by pressing the tofu ( I used extra firm) you are squeezing out all of the excess water in the tofu. To keep it fresh it is stored in water in the package and that water seeps in and fills up the pore spaces in the tofu. We want that water out of there so we’re going to squeeze it out, gently. This takes 2-4 hours
So what you’ll need is: 6 sheets of paper towel split into 3 pieces (each piece should have 2 full squares of paper towel), a kitchen towel and a heavy object such as a pot, serving dish, or plate with a few cans on top (about 2 lbs in weight)
So, you lay out your kitchen towel flat and then layer the three pieces of paper towel on top. Then place the tofu in the center, wrap in the paper towel then in the kitchen towel. Place your heavy object on top then let sit for 2-4 hours.
Here is the counter-intuitive part… Once the tofu has been pressed it should be placed in a zip top bag with a marinade and allowed to sit in the fridge overnight. I know, we just squeezed all the liquid out, why are we putting liquid back in? Well, tofu is like a sponge and it is going to suck all of that marinade up and fill in all those pore spaces with the marinade, making it super flavorful. You can marinate it in whatever you’d like but here is the one I used:
1 block pressed tofu
¼ cup of soy sauce
¼ cup of maple syrup
½ inch cube of ginger peeled and grated (you can use a few dashed of dried or ground ginger in its place, I buy a big nub of fresh ginger and freeze whatever I’m not going to use)
Place the pressed tofu in a zip top bag with the soy, maple syrup and ginger. Seal the top and shake to coat. I’d recommend putting it on a plate or on a dish before you stick it in the fridge, just in case it leaks. Place in fridge for 2-24 hours, turning the tofu every few hours to allow the marinade to be absorbed evenly (this is not dire, but every time I opened the fridge to get something, I give it a flip). The longer you let the tofu sit, the more flavor it will take on, so I’d recommend the whole 24 hours, by then it has soaked up almost all of the marinade.
You can use the tofu in whatever way you’d like… you can slice it into ¼ inch slices and grill (spray grill with a bit of cooking spray first) or you can cube it up and put in a salad or sauté cubes in a bit of oil and mix them in with a stir-fry.
The first night I decided to grill some, a few mins on each side, on a medium-low grill. I served it with some grilled corn brushed with bbq sauce… yum. The tofu will keep in the baggie with the marinade for about a week. Enjoy it however you’d like!
If I do say so myself it tasted pretty darn close to the actual from August First, though they might have used a bit more soy.
Also check out this rainbow chard I got at the Geneva Farmers Market… I wilted it down with crushed red pepper flakes and put it in an omelet!