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November 05, 2010: Blackened Tofu Wrap

November 5, 2010

As I have been a vegetarian for years, people often ask me how to make tofu interesting. The good thing about tofu is it’s chameleon-like nature of taking on any taste added to it. Here’s one dish that takes advantage of that character of tofu. The tofu is blackened with spices which adds a spicy-heat and the tiniest of charcoal taste to the tofu. It is then mixed with more mellowing influences like lettuce, mayo, hommus, and cheese. All of these is tucked inside a wrap for a light, tasty lunch!

Blackened Tofu:

  • 1 block Firm Tofu (press tofu under weight to reduce water. Cut width in 1/2, then turn and cut about 3/4″ for a total of 8 pieces of tofu, 4″ long)
  • 1/4 C. Corn OR Olive Oil
  • Spices: Pepper; Salt; Paprika; Chili Powder; Cumin; Herbs de Provence; Thyme; Sage OR you could use ready-made spices like “Emeril’s Essence”  (About 3/4 C. total.) Sometimes I make my own, sometimes I combine what I have with the ready-made stuff. There’s no “wrong” in the mixture, (just not too much salt) and I like to be surprised.  Just be sure to lean more heavily on the peppery spices.

Put on a plate and the spice mixture on another. Roll each pieces of tofu in the oil and roll in spices (remember to coat the ends to these two steps) and add to a broiler-proof pan coated with a thin layer of oil [I have a square tamagoyaki-style iron pan that is perfect!] You want to have about an inch between pieces so that you can turn them easily with tongs. Heat under a broiler. You will need to turn each piece about every couple of minutes, depending on how hot your broiler is. Watch closely as each side will cook faster as the broiler gets hotter. You want a slightly blackened edge to each side. [HINT: I always turn the pieces the same direction (ie. clockwise) and count as I turn, so that I can keep track of when I’ve cooked all four sides.] You will lose some spices as you turn, don’t worry, there will be plenty left over for a peppery taste. Cool. Store under plastic wrap and they should keep for at least a week.

When cool, assemble the wrap with wrap first [I use flavored wraps like the tomato-basil one (above) or spinach flavored wraps.] Spread a thin layer of hommus [there’s a HUGE variety of flavors of hommus available. I used an artichoke-olive hommus on the one above] to one side of wrap and mayo (or a light salad dressing) to the other. Add two pieces of Provolone [I find the softer cheeses like Provolone wrap better] in the middle of the wrap, end to end. I had some fresh basil for the wrap above, so I added a couple of pieces. Add 2 pieces of the tofu, in the middle of the wrap, end to end. Add a couple of pieces of lettuce [I prefer Romaine for the nice “snap” the stalks give the center of the wrap. Wrap snuggly. Cut wrap in center at 25° angle. Enjoy!

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