Saturday, July 10, 2010
Porcini Crusted Tofu with Nectarine Salsa...and the first baby tooth
Three days ago M. pulled out her first baby tooth. It was a happy and sad moment for me. The sands of time slipping away. I will never look at her mouth filled with all baby teeth again! The tooth was definitely not loose enough to come out on its own. She had decided the tooth was coming out that day no matter what. I thought I could help by attempting to pull her tooth out for her, but that lasted about 10 seconds and I practically starting gagging at the thought of pulling it out prematurely. She took matters into her own hands, and twisted it out with a tissue. She screamed with delight despite the small amount of blood that started filling her mouth. Really, it must have been a good thing because her permanent tooth was already breaking the skin behind the baby tooth.
Tonight I made a great tofu dish. I created the recipe around some local baby bok choy I picked up, and braising greens from our farm share. I have used dried porcini mushrooms before to crust steak and it is fabulous. I thought it would be fun to try it with tofu and pair it with the sweet and tart nectarine salsa. Braising greens of any kind always poses a slight issue for me. Greens always release their juices when braised. This can make them watery. I like my greens to have a lot of flavor, not watery. Two ways of preventing this from happening is to lightly braise them, and then squeeze out excess juice with tongs before plating. Then you can drizzle a sauce you have made and reduced in a separate pan. The other way is to braise the greens and push them to the side of the pan and then reduce the juices in the other half of the pan. In this recipe I did a bit of both of those techniques. The nectarine salsa was juicy with its own flavor so the greens did get a good coating of sauce. I buy porcini mushrooms dried. I use a coffee grinder to make it into a powder. You could add lots of interesting ingredients to the mix...dried mustard or chipoltes perhaps? Porcini mushrooms have a earthy smokiness that I really enjoy. A very distinct flavor. I also use sprouted tofu these days. I cannot taste any difference from regular tofu, and the texture is the same. I pondered grilling the tofu slices, but did not want to risk the fragile slices sticking. I opted for my trusty cast iron skillet instead.
1 med/large nectarine cut into small cubes
1/2 lime zest
1 tbls. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. heaping chopped red onion
1 tbls. olive oil
1 tbls. tamari or soy sauce
1 tbls. rice vinegar
1 tsp. honey
2 radishes slice thin
1 tsp. salt
1 tbls freshly grated ginger
Slice radishes and soak in a bowl with 1/2 cup water and the 1 tsp. of salt. Let sit for 10-15 min. I do this to take the burn out of the radishes.
In a bowl, combine the nectarines, cilantro, onion, honey, tamari, lime juice and zest, vinegar, ginger, olive oil and drained radishes. Let meld for 10 min. before using.
Porcini Coated Tofu
1 package of tofu cut into slices just shy of 1 inch thick. I cut mine longways so the tofu slices looked like a deck of cards
1/3 cup dried porcini powder (use a coffee grinder to grind into a powder)
pinches of salt
2 tsp. olive oil
I used clean dish towels to dry the tofu slices as much as possible. I wrap the tofu and leave it on a plate while I make the sauce. You want the tofu slices as dry as possible before dredging in porcini powder.
On a plate mix salt and porcini powder with your fingers or a spoon. Dip each side of the tofu into the porcini powder, shake of the excess and set on a plate to be seared.
In a seasoned or non-stick pan, heat olive oil and sear tofu for about 5 minutes on each side on med. high heat.
5 cups Greens (I used 2 cups baby bok choy and 3 cups mixed greens)
You could use chard, kale, mustard greens, arugula or any greens you like
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp soy sauce
In a deep skillet heat olive oil and add greens and soy sauce. Greens will begin to wild immediately. After about 3 minutes push greens to the side of the pan to reduce the liquid in the pan. You can also remove the greens and reduce the remaining liquid and then pour it on the greens after reduced.
Put one forkful of cooked greens on plate. Top with 1-2 pieces of tofu and a big spoonful of salsa.