Last night I was making dinner and I had this lonely block of tofu sitting in the fridge that I needed to use up. I consider myself to be a one woman tofu rescue mission, considering that I buy blocks of it, forget it, and then throw it away three months after its expiration date uneaten. Call Sarah Mclaughlan, I’m running a tofu haven in my kitchen.
Anyways, this particular evening that tofu was getting to see no mercy. I was not about to return this tofu to the wild, to let it roam wild and free amongst the rustling grasses of the soybean plains, noble and majestic. No sir. I was going to use that puppy before it developed a rapidly expanding colony of microorganisms. My tofu block stared at me, pleadingly. I stared back, blinking, blankly. It pleaded for life. I pleaded for inspiration.
You see, this is the problem. I buy tofu, expecting that I’m going to think ahead and make something inspired but I never do. I run out of time to press it, I have nothing for a marinade, yadda, yadda, yadda. Last night I didn’t care. I would have eaten that tofu if it had been expertly crisped or if it were rubberier than a foam mattress left in the rain. This tofu block was going down. TODAY.
So I cut the tofu up into little squares, not expecting to be amazed. I pressed it firmly between layers of towels, trying to extinguish any hope that my tofu block had left. I pressed and smothered, pressed and smothered, watching the tofu squeeze out crocodile tears to fill the Nile. I apologized to it for what I was about to do. Then I heated up a pan.
I decided to try dry frying the tofu that evening, having heard that it is the most miraculous diet friendly thing that you can ever hope to accomplish with a block of it. Seemed easy enough. Drop in a pan, squish until flat and crispy. I like squishing things and had little expectations, so I gave it a go. I slid in my tofu and pressed its little sides mercilessly into the pan.
I pressed and pressed, never relenting. My tofu screamed and hissed, streaming out angry tears in rivulets. I blocked the sound of my head as I pressed down ever harder, watching tiny geysers shoot up between the slots in my spatula. After an eternity, I flipped over my tofu squares and did the same on the other side. The bottom was dry and crispy. On the second side my tofu gave up on protesting, it just resigned its fate then and there.
Ten minutes later I was presented with a plate full of perfectly crispy browned tofu. They were amazing! Beautiful! Ready to rehydrate with whatever marinade I wanted. I was sold. This lazy girl had no more room at the inn for tofu rescues.
Dry frying. Try it. Its like being the Marquis de Sade with vegetarian protein.