While at Costco the other day, I spotted a case (12 boxes) of Mori-Nu extra firm silken tofu. This is the shelf-stable stuff that I use most often to make vegan mayo for Vegan Crunk's Dilled Tater Salad or quick chocolate pudding for dessert. I also use it pressed and grated in My Vegan Cookbook's Faux Crab Cakes and to make Cristina's Caesar Dressing.
Silken tofu gets a bit of a bad wrap in savory dish recipe writing. It is very custardy and works great in sauces and desserts, but a lot of the recipes you'll find call for a sturdier tofu (even going so far as saying DO NOT use SILKEN). So, with a case in hand, I headed home determined that I would give you some ideas for this staple that won't take up room in your refrigerator (although it will take up some freezer space).
The first round of experimentation resulted in the sesame crusted tofu cutlets in the photo above. These were a hit, and I've already got two more blocks curing in the freezer for some "no fish" cutlets soon.
Step One: Freeze your tofu
I knew that I would want to have four servings, so I cut each block in half and then sliced each half into two cutlets by standing the block on the cut end and using the handy seam from the box to slide my knife down the middle. I then wrapped the cutlets (I got four from each block, so eight total) in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer container. The plastic wrap keeps them separate and helps you lift them out later for squeezing. Let the tofu freeze for at least 48 hours. It will turn quite yellow (see the second set of pictures below), but will return to white once thawed.
Step Two: Squeeze out the water
The first picture above shows what a frozen cutlet looks like before I pressed it between my palms. The second picture shows the flattened, pressed cutlet. You can see from the third picture that these little darlings are a bit flaky and tender, but you can press the flakes together. Just be ginger.
Step Three: Make it tasty and give it a crust
I kept it simple. Also from Costco, I had a huge jug of Soy-Vey Teriyaki Sauce. This stuff is so awesome. I put some in a bowl. I also put out some sesame seeds on a plate and then dipped each cutlet first in the teriyaki, then coated with sesame seeds. These went down on a sprayed baking sheet. I spritzed the top of them, as well. They shared the sheet with slices of portobello mushroom that had been marinated in the Soy Vey that was left in the bowl after I put the tofu in it. No need to waste!
I cooked at 350 for 15 minutes and then gently turned them over and went another 15. I turned the oven off and left the cutlets in there while I prepped the rest of my noodle bowl ingredients (rice noodles and various raw vegetables). So, they were in the hot oven longer than 30 minutes.
Angel lives in Camden, Arkansas where she writes stuff and sometimes sends it out to other people to read. She used to grade papers, but not anymore. Check out her main site to see what she's up to lately.