A healthy meat alternative, tofu options are plentiful in our markets. Tofu has a deep history in America as vegetarian Benjamin Franklin discovered in the 1700’s. I can safely say that my mother never prepared a tofu dish for our family when I grew up. Perhaps she would have tried, but there was Hamburger Helper and TV dinners much more accessible. Made from ground soybeans and filled with protein, tofu is not just for vegetarians. Tofu is especially popular in Asian dishes as it goes so well with complimentary ingredients such as peanuts, coconut, curry, cilantro, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. I typically use extra-firm tofu in a stir-fry or on the grill. In this recipe I cut the block of tofu lengthwise to have two large pieces. For Valentine’s Day Dinner and some fun I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut a heart out of the tofu. I placed the tofu on a cedar plank with about one tablespoon of olive oil on top. The planks were placed directly on a 500 degree grill for 8-10 minutes. The tofu was cooked through, although the edges were not super crisp. The grilling gave it a nice rich smoky flavor. Because tofu has little flavor, you really need to complement it with strong smoky or salty flavors.
When the tofu is removed from the grill serve with a topping of sautéed vegetables. Here I combined the following in a sauté pan:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white wine (I use a dry chardonnay) – this is optional
1 cup vegetable stock or broth
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
2 large scallions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 large zucchini, cut in bite size pieces
1 yellow pepper, cut in bite size pieces
6-8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu
Sauté over medium high heat the vegetable oil, white wine, and broth in a large sauté pan or a wok. Add the onions, scallions, garlic, and shallots. Stir fry until onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Continue adding the zucchini, pepper, tomatoes, ginger, and soy sauce. Stir fry for another 5-7 minutes. Serve over the grilled tofu and rice.