Friday, March 7, 2014

Tofu Parmesan with Zucchini and Mushrooms

Getting a nice crust on the tofu before it goes in the casserole is the key to satisfying Tofu Parmesan.  I tried a few methods and like this simple one combining flour, Parmesan cheese and a little black pepper.  Just before dredging I brush the tofu steaks with a few teaspoons of red wine and a touch of olive oil.  Tofu absorbs flavors so this is even better the next day. 

Most recipes recommend using a firm or very firm tofu, well drained.  I cut mine before draining and like a pretty thin tofu slab, no more than 1/3 inch think.  This makes for a nice ratio of crisped flavor to soft inside in the casserole.  Once cut, lay the tofu slabs or steaks on a paper towel lined plate and cover with a second paper towel to wick away moisture. 

The tofu can be coated and sautéed ahead of time so that the actual assembly and baking for dinner is fast.  Cover the cooked tofu with plastic wrap on a large dinner plate and refrigerate until ready to cook. 

Baked Tofu Parmesan

Serves 4
Ingredients
For tofu:
1 pound firm or very firm tofu, cut into 8 slabs brushed with 1 tablespoon red wine + 1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup flour
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons oil for sautéing tofu

For casserole:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ½-3 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method
  1. In a shallow dish, combine flour, Parmesan cheese and pepper.  
  2. Dip tofu slabs in flour mixture. Tofu can be brewded as is or brushed with a little red wine and olive oil to enhance its flavor.  
  3. Turn each slab a few times and press with fingers into flour-cheese mixture to get a nice coating on tofu.  
  4. Heat half the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat.  When oil is hot place four tofu steaks in oil and cook, turning once, until both sides are lightly browned.  This will take 1-2 minutes on each side.  Set cooked tofu aside on a plate to cool slightly. 
To make the casserole
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Coat the bottom and sides of a casserole dish with olive oil.  
  2. Coat bottom of pan with 1 cup marinara.  
  3. Layer tofu on sauce and cover with more sauce.  Leave a little of the edges of the tofu uncovered to get crisp in the oven.  Reserve any extra marinara sauce to serve alongside.  
  4. Cover tofu with a layer of mozzarella and a dusting of Parmesan cheese.  
  5. Bake, uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until tofu is hot all the way through and cheese is just beginning to brown.  
  6. Let Baked Tofu Parmesan sit for 10 minutes before serving. 
Extra: Toss thickly sliced zucchini and mushrooms along sides of casserole.  They will cook and flavor the sauce as the casserole bakes.  Serve with a side of pasta, rice or tucked in some Italian bread.  Maybe garlic bread!