I have a shameful confession to make. Tofu is not one of my favorite foods. But, with the help of many blogs and cookbooks, I think I'm beginning to discover some of the many good properties of tofu. The first dish I ever made with tofu was a stirfry, with silken tofu from the aseptic box. I had no idea that there was a difference between silken and regular tofu. Suffice it to say that that stir-fry wasn't exactly the best thing I'd ever eaten. Then, I progressed to scrambled tofu, which I really like, mainly because I've found a nice blend of spices to use. Today I decided to try my hand at marinated and baked tofu. Sucess! I love tofu now! I have lots of ideas for variations on this theme that I can't wait to try out. This version was inspired by an article about crispy chicken breasts from Fine Cooking magazine.
I'm not going to lie: since you need to press and marinate the tofu, this isn't one of those meals that you can throw together 5 minutes before the guests arive. But, it isn't at all hard, even though it does have a number of steps. Note that for best results, the breadcrumbs should be smaller than the ones you see in my picture (lots of mine were too big to stick).
Crispy Lemon Dijon Tofu with Capers (serves 3)
1/2 lb firm country-style bread
2 tbsp olive oil
Using your fingers or a food processor, turn the bread into medium-fine crumbs, about the size of small oat flakes. In a 12'' skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the crumbs and sautee until lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Let cool-- they can easily be made in advance.
1 1lb block of extra-firm tofu
5 tbsp capers, rinsed and minced
Zest and juice of one lemon (cut lemon into wedges after zesting)
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Breadcrumbs from above
Rinse the tofu and cut along the short side into approx. 6 slices. They should be about 1/2'' wide. Press for several hours. When pressed, prepare the marinade. In a shallow dish (I used a piepan), combine half the chopped capers, the mustard, the oilve oil, juice of half the lemon, half the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Coat the tofu with the marinade completely on both sides, and let it marinate over night, or up to 24 hours.
When ready to proceed, preheat the oven to 400 F, and lay a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Mix the bread crumbs with the rest of the thyme and capers. Dredge the tofu slices with crumbs, covering all sides completely, and lay on the rack. Bake until golden, approximately 20 minutes. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges.