Breaded Tofu: Tofu Parmesan Recipe
Tofu parmigiana is one of the many variations on meat dishes I make, so I'm able to share a similar meal with my husband Lulu, who is a vegetarian. The last time I prepared this dish was to celebrate our wedding anniversary with a romantic dinner. It was a perfect date-night menu: I had chicken and he had tofu.
For this version, I breaded firm tofu with Japanese bread crumbs (panko). First, I flavored the panko with dried oregano and garlic powder. Then, I pan-fried the panko-dredged tofu, layered it with a creamy tomato sauce and a few slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and topped it all with Parmesan cheese. The cheese finished melting in the oven, and with a garnish of sweet basil the dish was complete. I served it with a side of linguine pasta. I guarantee you this dish is as delicious as the meat version!
Yields: 6 servings2 (12.3-ounce) packages firm tofu (see tips)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon paprika
2 shallots, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can chunky tomato sauce, store-bought
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
2 cups panko bread crumbs, as needed
½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
¼ cup olive oil, as needed
½ cup fresh sweet basil leaves, snipped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Making creamy tomato sauce: In a large saucepan, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook until golden. Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the shallot from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Add the tomato sauce, sugar, ¼ cup basil and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Add the ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese. Cover and reduce the heat and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
For the breaded tofu: Combine the panko, red chili powder (if used), garlic powder, dried basil and dried oregano. Mix well. Place the mixture on a plate.
Preparing the tofu: Drain the liquid from the package of the tofu. Cut the piece of tofu into thirds, lengthwise. Season with salt. Dredge the tofu in the panko mixture on both sides. Gently shake the excess bread crumbs off.
In a large pan that can be used in the oven, heat the rest of the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu pieces. Make sure the tofu pieces don't touch each other. Pan-fry for about 3 minutes until golden; the tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Lift the tofu and check for a golden crust, then flip the tofu. Lower the heat and cook for another 2 minutes. Top with 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce and cover with the sliced mozzarella and Parmesan.
Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the mozzarella is melted.
Spoon more tomato sauce on each individual serving plate. Top with a piece of tofu parmesan. Garnish with basil.
Serve hot with a side of pasta (I used linguine).
Make sure to cover the handle of the pan with aluminum foil (so it doesn't melt in the oven) or that the pan is oven-proof.
Panko is made from a kind of Japanese bread. The bread is crustless and is turned into crumbs.
I used silken firm tofu. The texture is very delicate, so handle with care while frying the tofu, or it will fall apart.
You can buy these 2 ingredients through AsianFoodGrocer.com. If you buy before October 22nd, 2011, you can get 10% off your entire order by entering coupon code PHAMFATALE during checkout (exclusively for Pham Fatale readers).