Friday, February 10, 2012

Rosemary-Lemon Baked Tofu Recipe

I'll admit it; I've fallen head over heels in love with rosemary. I love the smell: I love the flavor. Combine that with lemon? Yes, please. It creates this wonderful, natural tasting dish that you'll want to make again and again. Trust me on this.

Baked tofu is great as a snack right out of the oven, or as an addition to a stir-fry. (I'm excited to see how it is in a vegan potato salad this summer.) It is quick and easy, and if you get a good price on your tofu, super cheap. The tofu with the best flavor, texture, and price can be found in bulk at Asian or little neighborhood stores. I used to get mine in Little Saigon in San Francisco, on Larkin street near our apartment. In Springfield, MA I found it at a little Vietnamese store across from Foodzone on Belmont. Now I get it at a little store on Metropolitan Avenue in Queens called Joy Fruit. I love it because you can buy as many or as little pieces as you want. Another great place to get bulk tofu is at Sky Foods in Flushing. Look around your town, I'm sure you can find it somewhere. It is the best value tofu for your money.

If you can't find tofu in bulk, but you have a Trader Joes nearby, this is your next best bet. They have good prices and selection. Their extra firm makes great baked tofu since it holds its shape well.

Rosemary-Lemon Baked Tofu

  • 1 block (16 ounces) Firm Tofu
  • 1 teaspoon minced Lemon Zest (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice (~1 medium lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh Rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried and crumbled rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
 Note: To obtain lemon zest, simply use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to gently remove just the outside layer of the lemon peeling. Be sure not to get the white stuff underneath. A little is fine, but not too much, it is bitter! If you aren't sure if your lemons are organic or not, take a quick second and rinse it with hot water while rubbing it, before beginning. This will help to wash off contaminants.

To get the most juice from your lemon try this simple trick. After peeling the zest, place the lemon on a clean, flat surface. A cutting board works great for this. Then, roll the lemon back and forth on the surface using the palm of your hand. Apply a little bit of pressure as you go along. You will feel the lemon getting softer. A few rolls back and forth and you will have an easier time once you cut the lemon and begin squeezing the juice out.

Step 1
  •  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Press the tofu to drain the excess water.
    • Wrap the tofu in a clean tea towel (save the environment!) or a few layers of paper towels and sandwich between two plates. Rest a heavy object on top, such as a large can of tomatoes or a large book. Anything heavy works. Just make sure it is sturdy. Leave this pressing for about 20-25 minutes and then drain the liquid. 
Step 2
  •   Cut the tofu horizontally into 4 slices. These should be about 1/2 inch think. Feel free to try other shapes as well, such as tofu sticks! ( | | | | <---- Tofu Sticks )
Step 3
  •  Find your smallest nonstick or glass baking dish that will fit all the tofu slices in a single layer. You can use an 8 inch square pan, a 7 by 9 inch, or whatever works best for you. 
  • Combine the marinade in either a separate prep bowl or directly in the baking dish. 
  • Add the tofu and turn once to be sure that it is all covered in the marinade. 
Step 4
  •  Bake at 375° F for 30-60 minutes. How long you leave it in is up to you. The longer you leave it in, the chewier it will be. 
  • Be sure to turn in once, about halfway through. 
Step 5
  • Drain the baked tofu on paper towels to get rid of the excess oil.
  •  Serve while warm, or let it cool and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for about 3-4 days. It is so yummy though, it won't last that long!

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