Kumquat Breaded Baked Tofu
Kumquat breaded baked tofu is the result of one of my various culinary experiments. I pan-fried pieces of tofu, covered them with a crust of bread and baked till golden. Tofu is a blank canvas that will absorb any flavor. By drizzling the puffed baked tofu with a ginger kumquat sauce, the complexity of the flavor matched the complexity of the texture of the dish.
After making my breaded version of Frenched rack of lamb, I thought it would be fun to make a vegetarian alternative. My little munchkin and I went to the garden and picked a basket full of mini kumquats, and it occurred to me that a kumquat persillade crust would go great with tofu.
Experiments don't always go the way you want them to, but judging by how quickly Lulu and the girls devoured the dish, I'd say it worked out all right. Give it a try, and don't be afraid to add your own twist!
Yields: 8 servings2 (12-ounce) packages firm tofu
3 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
8 fresh kumquats
3 slices fresh whole wheat bread (or white bread), diced
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 clove garlic, finely minced and puréed
2 teaspoons coarse grain mustard
1-½ cups curly parsley, tightly packed and chopped
3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons ginger kumquat sauce (recipe in tip section)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Prepping the tofu:
Cut the tofu into ½-inch slices. In a wok, heat the canola oil. Pan-fry the slices on both sides until golden. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt.
For the kumquat persillade crust:
Wash the kumquats and thinly slice them using a sharp chef's knife. Discard all the seeds and the white center membrane. Blanch (dip for a minute in boiling water then transfer to an ice bath). Repeat twice. This helps reduce the bitterness of the fruit. Drain and pat dry the kumquats with a paper towel. Finely chop them.
Put the diced bread into a food processor and pulse several times. Add parsley, garlic and the finely chopped kumquats. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Add the mustard and softened butter. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Brush a baking pan previously lined with parchment paper with a little oil. Place the fried tofu pieces and cover them with the kumquat persillade crust by pressing it against the tofu. Drizzle with a little oil. Bake the tofu 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. The tofu will increase in volume. Poke each tofu piece with a skewer and immediately drizzle with ginger kumquat sauce. The tofu will deflate instantly and will absorb the ginger kumquat flavor. Transfer the tofu to a platter.
Garnish with fresh whole kumquats and curly parsley and serve immediately.
It's important to use a fresh loaf of bread and not bread crumbs for the persillade crust because the final product will be much more moist.
I used kumquats from our garden. The zest is very fragrant. If you don't have kumquats, you can use any other citrus zest.
I use parsley stems as well, because that's where the flavor is the most potent.
For a vegan version, substitute vegetable butter (a vegan oil-based margarine) for the butter.
The baking time depends on how golden the crust is. Mine was perfectly browned after 9 minutes.
I use Thanh Son brand tofu. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try it. They sell in almost all the Asian markets in San Jose, and their main shop is on 2857 Senter Road, San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. Their tofu has the best texture; it's made fresh daily. I also like Golden Gate tofu brand tofu; just make sure to look for the firm version.
Easy recipe for ginger kumquat sauce: Combine 2-½ tablespoons of kumquat marmalade, 1-½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 2-½ tablespoons fruity olive oil, and 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger in an immersion blender attachment or a mini-prep until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Add more water if necessary.
Quick note on how to get freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife or the edge of a spoon. Grate the ginger with a fine mesh microplane. Gather about 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root.Published By: on February 15, 2010.