Thursday, April 2, 2009
Lemon Day Tofu Piccata
A glut of lemons inspired Zorra to create a Lemon Day food blog event. I would love to have a glut of lemons to make lemon curd and lemon tarts and lemon sponge pudding and lemon almost anything else. I, unfortunately, do not have a glut of lemons, so my lemony dish for this event had to be somewhat less lemon-focused.
By long journey from my sister, who used to make chicken-fried tofu, comes a tofu piccata dish similar to what my mother makes now. Because tofu doesn't have as much flavor as chicken breasts or thighs, a plain flour coating doesn't provide enough oomph, so I use a combination of flour, chickpea flour, and nutritional yeast, well-seasoned with salt and pepper. The sauce is made from the pan drippings and is bright with the flavor of capers and lemon.
To make this, I use an extra-firm tofu and press it briefly to get rid of a little extra moisture.
The coating (for about a pound and a half of tofu):
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices. Dredge each slice in the flour/yeast mixture to coat well. Pan fry in olive oil in batches. Keep the tofu warm in a low oven while frying later batches.
When all the tofu is done, add a little oil and four or five thinly sliced garlic cloves. Cook until slightly soft. Add a tablespoon or two of the flour/yeast mixture and stir well, cooking to form a not-quite-roux. Add two to three tablespoons of small capers (or roughly chopped big capers), the juice of one large lemon (at least a third of a cup), and a quarter to a third cup of water or stock and cook until slightly thickened. At this point, this recipe is suitable for vegans. If you're not worried about that, add a couple tablespoons of butter to make the sauce richer.
I serve this with a puree of cauliflower and potato and something bright for color on the plate.