Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Coconut-Crusted Tofu with Peach-Lemongrass Salsa

I've had this recipe for awhile and I truly consider making it nearly every week when I'm meal-planning. With a massive influx of beautifully ripe peaches at the farmer's market, I decided now was the time to try it out. There are so many things that had prevented me from trying it. First it was my ex's aversion to coconut. Then it was that peaches weren't in season. And for some reason I felt strongly that this recipe was going to be a lot of work.

Well guess what? It isn't. Despite the verbose nature of the recipe, it basically comes down to this:
1. Chop stuff up and make the salsa.
2. Coat slices of tofu in coconut, flour, and cornstarch.
3. Pan-fry tofu.

That's it. I swear. The whole step about like, "Keep warm in oven on rack placed on top of baking sheet" is totally unnecessary. The tofu does not cool so quickly that you need to keep it heated while you cook the rest of the pieces. So silly.

All in all, this took a ridiculously short amount of time and produced an amazing result. It is SO GOOD. Every part about it is delicious. You can find fresh lemongrass at the grocery store in the herb section, but I used powdered from Penzeys and it worked just fine. I had it with some Caribbean Coconut Rice, which was the perfect complement. I'm taking leftovers for lunch today and am unsure how well it will translate to reheating, but we'll see. Might as well give it a shot.

I would definitely make this again. It's delicious and it's a surprisingly great alternative to coconut shrimp. I swear!

tofu

Coconut-Crusted Tofu with Peach-Lemongrass Salsa
Eating Well

The crunchy-crisp tofu and our spicy-sweet salsa are inspired by that restaurant-chain classic, deep-fried coconut shrimp. Make it a meal: Stir fresh cilantro into basmati rice and serve alongside. Try sliced bananas drizzled with "lite" coconut milk for dessert.

3 medium peaches -- peeled, pitted and diced
1 jalapenos -- (1-2) preferably red, seeded and minced
1 2-inch piece fresh lemongrass -- minced, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice-wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
14 ounces extra-firm water-packed tofu -- drained
2 tablespoons canola oil -- divided

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Set a wire rack on a large baking sheet.

2. Combine peaches, jalapenos, lemongrass, basil, brown sugar, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine.

3. Mix coconut, flour and cornstarch in a shallow dish. Cut the block of tofu lengthwise into 8 thin steaks. Pat the tofu slices dry with a paper towel, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then press both sides of each tofu steak into the coconut mixture.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 tofu steaks and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent scorching. Transfer the tofu steaks to the rack-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat; cook the remaining tofu steaks until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Serve the tofu with the peach salsa.

Servings: 4

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