Active Time: 30 minutes (not including marinating and tofu pressing which is 2 hours)
It’s every girl’s worst nightmare. Just a few weeks shy of my 39th birthday, trying to drift off to sleep, I was suddenly seized by a terrifying thought. “I have never porcini crusted anything.” Maybe porcini crusting went out of style with The Rachael haircut, but it’s still my idea of a fancy meal.
And Valentine’s Day is coming up, so maybe you wanna’ get a little fancy? Porcinis remind me of wet leaves, red wine and cozy cloudy evenings. Their sensuous woodsy taste just oozes romance. They’re a little pricey, but dried ones aren’t too bad — I think one ounce set me back under four bucks at Whole Foods. You grind them up in the blender, mix with breadcrumbs and seasoning and voila! Delicious crust.
Even though you might not make this recipe any day of the week (but you might), it isn’t difficult to do. My favorite part is that the accompanying Shallot Gravy is made with both the leftover marinate and the leftover crusting mixture.
I served over Scallion Mashed Potatoes and Caramelized Beets. You can definitely have the whole menu done in an hour or so (not including marinating time). Here’s how: Marinate the tofu during the day. Then when you get home, first thing you do is prep the beets and get them in the oven. Then prepare the potatoes. Now prep the shallots (this is the hardest part! Shallots can be a real pain.) Blend the porcinis before blending the mashed potato ingredients so that you don’t have to wash the blender out. Now make the sauce, porcini crust and, finally, cook the tofu. That may sound confusing, but once you read through the recipes, you’ll get it.
Ok let the romance begin!
14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed (here’s how to press tofu, I wrap it in a kitchen towel, too.)
For the marinade
3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/4 cups veggie broth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
For The Crust:
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
Pinch each tarragon, rosemary, thyme crushed with your fingers
1/8 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
For the Shallot Gravy:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup leftover porcini/breadcrumb mixture
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup of the tofu marinade
You’ll also need:
Extra olive oil for cooking
Slice the tofu into 8 even slices widthwise. Slice each of those diagonally corner to corner so that you have long triangles.
Mix together marinade ingredients in a large bowl and marinate the tofu for at least an hour and up to 8 hours, turning when you can.
When tofu is ready, prepare the crusting mixture. In a blender, pulse the porcinis until they’re powdery. Now toss them in a wide bowl along with the breadcrumbs, herbs, salt, pepper and garlic. Reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture to use in the sauce.
Prepare the sauce first:
Preheat a saucepan over medium heat and cook the shallots in oil until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the breadcrumb mixture and toss to coat. Now add the vegetable broth and marinade. Let cook until nicely thickened, 10 minutes or so. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.
Now cook the tofu:
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. In the meantime, dredge half the tofu slices in the breadcrumb mixture and place on a plate. Pour a thin layer of oil in the pan and cook the dredged tofu slices on each side for about 4 minutes each, until golden brown. Use a thin metal spatula (as thin as possible) so that you can easily get under the tofu to flip it. A thick spatula might cause the breading to fall off. While the first batch is cooking, dredge the second batch. Keep cooked tofu warm by placing on a plate and covering with tin foil.
Serve over mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. Scatter a few roasted beets. Place a few slices of tofu on top and garnish with extra scallions (from the mashed potatoes) or whatever fresh herbs you can on hand.