Your New Go-To Tofu
Although tofu is an ingredient that regularly populates my diet now, I never ever ate it growing up. In 1994, it wasn't sold with abandon at every grocery store; more of a specialty item, tofu seemed to be reserved for that one store in every town with a name like "Wild Seasons" or "Vegetation Station." When I did eat tofu, it was because someone's mom ordered it at a Chinese restaurant—which in Northern New England meant a pile of sad, oil-laden squares fried into a texture that can only be described as old-sponge-like.
Sometime in my early 20s, I decided tofu was okay. A few years later, I decided it was great, but I still didn't know how to make it taste good in my own kitchen. When it comes to tofu, I want a somewhat firm texture, no frying, and deeply integrated seasoning. After years of attempts, I have found the best way to achieve killer consistency and plentiful flavor is through patiently slow-roasting tofu in (maybe too much) marinade. Over an hour, the tofu slowly firms up while absorbing every last delicious bit of flavor. Once it's done, it can be eaten hot or cold, and it’s guaranteed to satisfy Northern New England moms and picky six years old alike.
Slow-roasted, miso-glazed tofu
This marinade is the very same one from the only black cod recipe you'll ever need. This dish is sweet and savory, easy and impressive, decadent and healthy—basically, the best of all worlds. The key is this: the marinade is fantastic, but this recipe is all about technique. You can switch out this marinade for just about anything and it will still be delicious. This slow roasting technique is the star of this recipe. So you want lime juice and cumin for tacos? Yep, do it. Italian dressing for Cobb salads? You betcha. Barbecue sauce for sloppy sammies? You get the idea.
Time: 2 hours
Active Time: 15 min
Drink: Vouvray or any off-dry, high acid white wine
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Drain tofu and press between two clean towels
We're trying to get all of that excess moisture out. Drain the water from the tofu packaging and remove the block of tofu. Place the tofu between two clean kitchen towels and place something heavy on top (a plate, a pan, a can of tomatoes, etc.). Let it sit for 30 minutes.
3. Make your marinade
Whisk together miso, sake, mirin, soy sauce, oil, and sugar until incorporated.
4. Marinate that tofu
Cut your tofu into 1 inch cubes and place them in a greased baking dish. Add the marinade and mix gently to coat the tofu in the mixture. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
5. Cook the tofu
Cook the tofu for 1 hour in the 350F oven. Stir the tofu every 10-15 minutes, coating it with the marinade. It's done when all the liquid has been absorbed or makes a thick sauce.
Hot right out of the oven, room temperature, or chilled.
Um, excuse me?
Can I use other types of tofu?
Definitely. I like using extra firm because of its toothsome texture, but anything with medium firmness or higher will work. Do not use silken tofu.
This sure takes a long time, can I turn up the heat and get this party moving a little faster?
While this seemingly takes some time, it's mostly inactive and can be done while watching tv, talking with friends, or prepping the rest of your dinner. The key to what makes this tofu so damn good is slow roasting at a (relatively) low temperature. It allows more time for the tofu to build flavor and density.
If you really hate the idea of wasting time, double or triple the batch to eat for lunch throughout the week!
What should I serve this with?
Noodles. All of the noodles.