Pan-seared pistachio’n’panko-crusted tofu cutlet, sauteed spinach w/ garlic, homegrown cherry tomato salad, and rice dream vegan mozzarella on sunflower rye bread.
What you’ll need: (serves 3)
1 16oz pack Extra Firm Tofu
2 hands of panko
1 hand of shelled pistachios, preferably unsalted
3 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp onion powder
2-3 tbsp flavored oil, if available (i used lemon chile oil)
1 16oz pack fresh spinach
6 cloves of garlic
2 hands cherry tomatoes
1 hand fresh basil (10-15 leaves depending on size)
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme leaves (can omit or sub pinch of lemon zest)
1/2 block rice mozzarella (approx. 4-6 oz)
6 slices sunflower rye bread
olive oil, salt, pepper to taste
How to do it:
First things first, you’ve got a brick of tofu there that needs to be drained. Take the brick from the pack and slice it with your knife parallel to the long end, so that you have 3 equally sized tofu cutlets.
Lay out a clean dish towel and 4 paper towels and place the cutlets here, covered with 4 more paper towels. Find a large, flat, heavy object (I use a cast iron pan, sometimes placing a full teapot inside for extra weight) to lay across that top layer of paper towels over the tofu. This will drain the excess liquids, giving your tofu better texture and more flavor-absorbtion power. Give it at least 30 min.
Meanwhile…chop up that garlic and save half of it, throw the other 3 cloves in a nonstick pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Give it a minute, then toss in the spinach, stirring it around to prevent the garlic from browning. You want to wilt the spinach and cook out some of that water it’s holding, so keep it on medium/low for about 10 min.
While that’s cooking, quarter your cherry tomatoes and toss with 3 cloves of garlic you reserved, along with a pinch of coarse sea salt.
Take the basil leaves and stack them, with the larger basil leaves on the bottom. Now, roll this stack over itself, forming a tight roll of basil, and make tiny slices on the short end. This is called a chiffonade, and is the easiest way to cut flat leaves without bruising them.
Mix the basil in with the tomatoes and salt, strip the lemon thyme leaves from their twiggy stems, add to the salad, and set aside.
So, we’ve got the sauteed spinach and garlic done, your tomato salad is set. Slice the rice mozzarella thinly so it melts fast and set aside. Now it’s time to get the tofu situated.
Finely chop the pistachios, and mix these in with the panko, rosemary, and onion powder in a wide, shallow dish. Heat a flat nonstick pan on medium/high with 3 tbsp olive oil. Brush the tofu cutlet on either side with the flavored oil, and press firmly into the panko mixture until the cutlet is well coated. Sear the crusted tofu cutlet until crisp and golden brown on both sides. When finished, set aside on a paper towel to drain.
Time to assemble the sandwich. Place down 3 slices of bread for your base. Next, a thin layer of rice mozzarella, then spinach, 1 tofu cutlet, 2 spoons of tomato salad, another thin layer of the rice mozz, and the top slices of bread.
Take the same pan and brush out any remaining panko crumbs. The pan should have some oil remaining, if not add a tsp and let come to medium, then cook the assembled sandwich until bread is golden on either side and cheese has melted.
This sandwich was f’in superior. The tomatoes and spinach nicely offset the crunchyness of the bread and tofu cutlet. Make sure the oil is up to temp before adding the tofu cutlets, otherwise the breading will fall off the cutlet.
Oh HAAAAY—I ain’t know you come here!
Welcome to my first legit blog. Why am I doing this? Glad you asked:
Cooking shows were an after-school staple for me growing up, I just wasn’t into being patronized by childrens’ programming. Instead, I’d watch (poorly) translated French cooking shows on PBS, way before the advent of the Food Network. I’m certainly no stranger to good food, but in college (and beyond…) I was poor and still wanted to eat really well. For the past 5 years or so, I’ve been working on my cooking skills and have found my culinary mojo, now it’s time to show off a bit and quit annoying my friends with shoddy cell phone photos of good meals via facebook.
Even if my food is daBOMB.
Got tips? Comments? Complaints? Well, keep the complaints to yourself, ya little dicknose prick, but everything else feel free to send my way. ;-)