For many people, tofu just doesn’t sound that appetizing. I kinda get that – the whole bean curd thing gets less appealing the more I think about it.
But I love tofu – especially the firm variety. I love the taste and the texture. I love that it’s not meat, but full of protein. And I think I may have found the best way to eat tofu – in a sandwich.
I first discovered this sandwich in a small, underground vegetarian spot (literally, it was in the basement of a building I worked in on Spadina south of Queen in the late 1990s) and I have adapted it to my liking.
It has four main ingredients: tofu, radish, mustard, and greens.
Here’s how I make it:
1. Prepare your tofu in two steps:
a. Marinate your tofu. Start with the firmest tofu you can buy. Slice it into thin pieces (say 1/2 to 1 cm or about 1/4 inch) and then marinate for an hour or so in a store-bought Teriyaki sauce. You can use any yummy Asian marinade here, for instance this Korean flank steak marinade would work just as well.
b. After an hour of marinating, place the tofu on a cookie sheet and bake at 325F for 20 minutes or so. You just want to firm up the tofu and bake in the marinade flavour. Remove from oven and let cool. (Ok, you can taste one.)
2. Pick your radish. The original sandwich that inspired me used daikon (winter) radish and this has a great taste in combination with the salty tofu. You can also use traditional white-fleshed, red-skinned (summer) radish. The key is to pick a radish with a fresh, peppery taste. Slice your radish thinly, but not paper-thin. You want to maintain some crunch.
3. Use Dijon mustard. I’ve experimented with a number of other mustards and they don’t work as well. Dijon has that perfect combination of tang and heat to complement the flavours. I’ve tasted very hot and and very mild dijon, so find one that fits your palate.
4. Greens. To me, you just want a touch of green to finish this medley fo flavours. Sprouts would work, such as radish or alfalfa, but stick to the green tops and don’t overload. Chives might also work. This is really optional, so do whatever works.
Of course, your sandwich is only as good as your bread. As I recall, the original sandwich that inspired me was on focaccia. I’d pick something fresh and soft, but that’s me.
Now, after writing this post, I’m jonesing for a tofu and daikon sandwich. Let me know how it works for you.